Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Leak -- How Activision Capitalized On A Disaster


Posted May 20, 2011 - By Leah Jackson

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Remember the huge Call of Duty: Modern Ware 3 leak from last week? Well Giant Bomb has received details about a company-wide e-mail that Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg sent out this morning regarding the leak that happened exactly a week ago on Kotaku. The e-mail details how the company handled the event internally and how they were able to turn what could have been absolutely disastrous into a strategic advantage.

"I wanted to reach out to you today and address the Call of Duty intellectual property leak that occurred last Friday," said Hirshberg, "Of course, Activision takes very seriously any abuse of our intellectual property – the event is under investigation and we’re confident it will be resolved quickly."

According to Giant Bomb the e-mail doesn't provide any details on where the leak came from but instead it goes on to say that while the leak did come a week before Activision's projected MW3 launch (that was supposed to culminate in a commercial during the NBA Finals) the company was able to spin it into a good thing. 

Once the leak hit Kotaku last Friday the company went in to damage control mode. Since the leak occured so close to the launch date, Hirshberg said that, "we had a number of assets that had not yet been released, but were ready to go."

And that's when they began to release a series of teaser trailer videos for the highly anticipated threequel. "When it came to light that we had suffered a significant security breach, it became clear that a leak of this size had the potential to throw our launch off of its schedule, or worse, blunt its momentum," he wrote. "As a company, we needed to look both backwards and forwards simultaneously. Of course we needed to immediately begin finding the source of the leak. But we also needed to deal with the fact that, like it or not, our launch had just begun."

The result of rolling out the trailers through Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, according to Hirshberg, was phenomenal.  "We had over 4.8 million hits on the various Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 teasers over those first 48 hours. To put that in perspective, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Call of Duty: Black Ops had 61,000 and 89,000 hits, respectively, in their first two days. Pre-sales for MW3 are off to an amazing start. Perhaps, most importantly, we migrated the dialogue from one that was between our players and the leakers, to one between our players and us."

The e-mail finishes by explaining how very few companies could have, "woken up with a crisis of this magnitude, and gone to bed with an undeniable win." And he tells his employees to be proud that they managed to come away from this PR disaster with a win.

Of course Activision has to cover this up and act like everything's peachy for PR reasons but honestly for once it seems like they really aren't doing so bad because of the leak. Sure Kotaku ruined their launch but now they're getting more hits and everyone's talking about MW3 now even more than they would have been next week probably. What do you think about Hirshberg's e-mail? Do you think he's being sincere about his jubilism over how the launch is going now, or do you think Activision is still stewing over how their largest title for E3 has been a bit tarnished?

Source: Giant Bomb

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Leak -- How Activision Capitalized On A Disaster


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