Activision Respond To Modern Warfare 3 Leak

Leaks suck, but dealing with them in a mature, responsible way shows a side to publishers that we rarely see.  Case in point: the recent Modern Warfare 3 leaks, which Activision have – yesterday evening – responded to.

“Friday [the day of the leak] was a really interesting, a really kind of cool day,” said Activision’s CEO Eric Hirshberg.  Planning out a marketing strategy for a game as big as MW3 takes months, and it’s meant to run on a carefully scripted schedule for equally as long.


“No one wakes up and thinks, ‘I hope there’s been a leak and our timing gets all messed up'” he said.  “If members of the government and the military aren’t safe from this stuff, it’s a part of our world now.”

“While it’s definitely not cool to steal other people’s intellectual property, and while it’s definitely not cool to leak stuff that’s not yours, there are ways that you can respond that actually turn the lemons into lemonade,” he added. “And that’s what we tried to do on Friday.”

“You aren’t always in control of the schedule and the dialogue, and you need to be comfortable of those rapids in this day and age,” he continued.  “That’s actually one of the things that separates good marketing from great marketing today.”

“We woke up with a marketing crisis and wanted to go to bed with a marketing win,” Hirshberg said.

“So what we did was we kind of took that exact conversation we were having in our conference room outside and had it publicly in social media. We reached out to our fans and we said, ‘Look, we didn’t schedule this. This wasn’t something we had planned. But everyone seems excited, so we’re just going to roll with it. So here they are, a couple of assets that weren’t scheduled to be out for another couple of weeks.'”

Those assets?  The teaser trailers, which have been phenomenally successful.  Three million views in just two days.

In our opinion, this is how you should deal with events like this – rather than just shove it under the carpet or try to get the content taken down, you follow up with the big guns, and there’s little bigger than a Modern Warfare teaser trailer.  Let’s hope the full trailer, which is meant to air next Monday, is just as powerful.

Source: Joystiq.



  1. You lost me at “Activision”.

  2. Activision have the biggest heads in the world. They are also the biggest prinks too.

    Those trailers are plop and I couldn’t be less excited personally. Lets go back to what we did before, same old rollocks rolled out.

    • I hate prinks, especially when they roll out rollocks.

      • Funking prinks talking rollocks innit geeza

      • Nothing worse than funking prinks talking rollocks out of their arris!

      • spot on Forest

  3. Well played by Activision there.

    • p.s. Activision and CoD bashing sticks at the ready ….FIGHT!!!

  4. Touche Activision. I will take my hat off as a sign of respect.Well played sir.

  5. Oh please, like Activision didn’t feed all the info to Kotaku in the first place. Blatently a PR stunt, and as you can see above, one that is still rolling on and grabbing headlines.

    • I’d love to know why thats a bad thing. Surely if its a planned strategy then its working perfectly, if it’s not then they’ve dealt with it well.
      It’s marketing, its there to get you talking about it and thats what your doing, negatively or not. Its all raising awareness of Activison and CoD

      • Im not saying it’s a bad thing, but it’s so bloody blatent I dont know why they are pretending.

        If it was leak Activision would be hugely annoyed (trust me I’ve annoyed them a couple of times and they get angry) but somehow the stupendous amount of information of THE game of year gets leaked they are like, “Oh well”.

        Activision get a load of press from the “leak” and Kotaku rack up the page views. Win all round, apart from you lot who are suckered in to thinking you’ve found out something you should have not.

      • Whether anyone believes it is a marketing stunt or not is irrelevant, my issue lies in the fact that as soon as the word “Activision” appears people seem to climb on the highest horse they can find and condemn them for it.
        If this same marketing strategy was employed by a smaller, independent developer/publisher it would be praised for its great ingenuity, but because its a big publisher it seems to get lambasted as an evil master plot to decieve everyone and force you all to buy their products.

      • “because its a big publisher it seems to get lambasted as an evil master plot to decieve everyone and force you all to buy their products”

        That’s because it IS. Please, take the red pill.

      • @Brendan – Erm nope, small or large, it’s and udnerhand tactic. Developers deliberatly leak information.

      • I really dont understand what the issue is. What is everyone’s issue with Activision using a this a marketing strategy. Its not as if they’ve donr anything illegal.
        They haven’t broken into your house tied you up, pinned your eyes open and forced you to watch their trailers. The FPS market is fiercely competitive and Activision have every single right to market their product exactly how they see fit.
        This isn’t an issue of morals, this is a personal issue that people have against Activision

      • It’s deceitful. Also look at how much nice press they are getting “Ooh arent they good for not clamping down on the leak”. When something really leaks they let loose all hell on earth.

        “Activision reacts positively to Modern Warfare 3 leak”

        “Engaging with the fans was a triumph!”

        “Modern Warfare 3 pre-orders ‘already flowing in'”

        They are laughing the arses off for managing to fool so many people.

      • So what your saying, is that Activision should be restricted to using only overt types of marketing and it must be in no way inclined towards improving their public image.

      • Why are you bothered if Activision gets praised or not – surely all that matters is what the game is like. If you’re going to view a product based on the company’s ethics then you probably wouldn’t ever buy another product again from anyone. It just seems like another excuse for the MW haters to bitch at Activision.

      • I’m rather fond of Activision, I have lots of their games and they put on the most spectacular parties with very nice nom-noms and I can’t wait to see how they will out-do the Black ops launch.

        Howver Brendam et al, you are obviously not getting the point of my argument (which you seem to think its Activision hate). Let’s just leave it.

      • Sounds fair, very likey we’ve mis-construed each other’s POV.

    • I suspect you’re dead right, it’s all just a little too convenient and neat. Wouldn’t be the first time companies have tried something radical like ‘unassociated’ viral advertising. The allure of knowing the entire plot will be too tempting for most CoD addicts, drawing them in, whilst for others the struggle to resist will just make them desperately want the game so they can finally play it and know the secret.

      None of that will stop the story being complete pants as per usual.

  6. Clearly leaked on purpose as mentioned above, as they say ‘all publicity is good publicity’

  7. Lol Activision are trying to make out as if Modern Warfare is now too big/cool a phenomenon that it can no longer be contained. Blatant PR stunt in my opinion.

  8. Why would they need a PR “stunt” – MW2 was the biggest media release ever.

    Crysis 2 was leaked as a game, let alone plot details, so we know it happens.

    People love to hate MW & Activision, like they should be ridiculed for their success. If you don’t like the series, stop wasting your time posting.

    • Your dead right.
      The higher up the ladder something is, the more people like to knock them off.
      Same thing happens with Microsoft and Apple, no matter what they do some people will always knock them.
      I guarantee that if this was small indie developer’s pulling a similar marketing stunt they would be praised for their efforts in using “cutting edge” marketing techniques.

    • “Crysis 2 was leaked as a game, let alone plot details, so we know it happens.”

      Completely different.

      The Crytek team were gutted about the release, sick to their stomachs, and said so publicly.

      Activision, not so much.

      Crysis 2 leak cost them money, and, because it wasn’t even the finished version, bad PR.

      This ‘leak’ cost them nothing and has been a ‘marketing win’, particularly because they probably controlled the entire thing.

      Clearly it has worked, but that doesn’t make it right.

      • My point was that leaks happen; no one can say for sure whether it was Activision who leaked it. The article mentions how Activision have turned it into a good thing, suggesting they weren’t happy about the leak in the first instance. Why would they leak it (especially the plot) when they’re likely to take the headlines from everyone else at E3 next month? Like I said, they don’t need the PR. People just blame Activision because they dislike MW.

  9. Like they’d leak the whole plot…

    Kudos to Acti for behaving in a manner that’s served them well instead of getting the content taken down & pretending it didn’t happen.

    *cue the usual suspects lining up to tell us why game xyz is obviously better despite no one, anywhere even playing it yet*

    • Bee Eff Fwee FTW

    • They havent leaked teh whole plot, hence the “some of the details are nto accurate” statement the put out. Some of its true, some of its bollocks, all of it is a massive PR stunt.

      • Sure…MW needs PR.

      • I’m totally with Tuffcub on this one, complete stunt.

        This is up there with an Apple employee ‘accidentally’ leaving a brand new iPhone 4 in a bar in San Francisco which ‘coincidentally’ got handed into Engadget for an exclusive reveal.

        Wake up! Blinkers off!

      • Yeah yeah, it definately needs PR, it’s not like Activision to release ANOTHER CoD game? And with a November release? So glad they are leaking information and raising the game’s profile, otherwise I might have missed it completely.

      • They need the PR. I’ll say it again… BF3.

        Not to mention Uncharted 3 and Skyrim to name a few. Yes they are a stupidly successful franchise, but even they must acknowledge the competition this year. This is their early marketing scheme to get just a little more leverage on the competition.

        FWIW, I’m still buying BF3.

      • Only BF3 is a FPS, so there others aren’t really competition. I still maintain anything belonging to the CoD series doesn’t need any “stunt” or additional PR. And I’m not making a statement about whether I’m buying BF3 or MW3, or both – since both are a little way off and there isn’t much information/footage on either. But good for you

  10. I don’t really get the hate for Activision. Yes they are higher priced in the market, but surely if you don’t want it don’t complain? :/

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