A few months back, Activision launched a mini-convention of sorts called the Call of Duty XP, which looked to take the Call of Duty fandom to the next level by providing die-hard fans with an entire convention devoted entirely to the FPS. Among the promised items was a copy of the Hardened Edition of the game, which was said to be sent out at launch. But with the release a day away, XP attendees were greeted with a special surprise: the game actually shipped early to many of them, giving access to the game a full day before everyone else.
So far, every XP attendee (including those not in the press) we've asked has received the game early, despite no inclination from Activision that this would be the case. If this was intentional on Activision's part they should have advertised it when they announced the XP - odds are some would have forked over the extra $50 just to get the game early, especially considering the franchise's massive, rabid fan-based. If it wasn't, then we're sure that there are some angry emails being forwarded around the company today. Activision originally warned against playing the game early, so it's obvious the publisher wasn't expecting their most die-hard fans to be getting their hands on copies a day before release, especially not like this.
Above: We unbox said early copy, and pour the goodies onto the internet for all to see
This just makes those of us who didn't attend feel like even bigger suckers. Even without the early copy of the game, the suite of goodies that came with admission to the Call of Duty XP in 2011 was actually fairly substantial. All attendees got admission to the two-day show, live musical performances by Kanye West and Dropkick Murphys, hands-on time with the multiplayer, admission into a tournament with a $1 million prize, a paintball match set in a life-size recreation of MW2’s Scrapyard level, a goodie bag, and, of course, the Hardened Edition of Modern Warfare 3. The Hardened Edition alone goes for $100, so it made purchasing a ticket a no-brainer for anyone already planning on picking up the game, and now with the game shipping even earlier than expected those attendees have yet another reason to gloat over their friends who didn't attend.