Pre-release Modern Warfare 3 play “may impact your account”

As we reported yesterday, copies of Modern Warfare 3 are out in the wild, being sold by retailers that don’t feel like adhering to the street date. It happens with just about every early release, from Toys “R”Us’s leak of BioShock to K-mart’s mistaken pre-sell of Mass Effect to 7-11’s sale of Gears of War 2 before its release. Uusually, the stance of the developer is clear: while they’d rather it not happen, they aren’t actually going to punish those who took advantage of it – who could possibly justify punishing consumers for legally purchasing a game at a retail store? Apparently, Activison.

At first, Microsoft seemed to think there wouldn't be an issue, with Xbox LIVE Director of Policy and Enforcement, Stephen Toulouse, writing, "For those asking about MW3 pre-release play: If your copy is legit and obtained legitly, have fun. It's a great game." But soon after, the story changed. He updated his Twitter with a new response, straight from Activision: "clarification: dblchk'd with Activision. Mw3 pre-release play not authorized," he wrote, "So pls be patient. Playing early may impact your account!"

It's a vague statement to be sure, but it's certainly ominous. It's also somewhat insulting – it's really not the consumer's fault in this case. It's the retailers, the publishers, and the employees, but not at all the customer's.

So there's your warning! If you go to the store and see a copy of a new game on the shelf, don't buy it! If you legally purchase that game and play it online, you might be punished by the publisher (who should have done a better job marking the shipment boxes to avoid confusion).


  • Whit - November 5, 2011 1:15 p.m.

    MW1 and MW2--both great games. MW3 is not by Infinity Ward. The BF3 multiplayer is pretty darn good. Be interesting to see how the shrt campaign of MW3 and multiplayer stack up. Something tells me a bunch of folks are about to feel let down.... Arkham City is looking pretty good for GOY.
  • IceSickle - November 5, 2011 8:45 a.m.

    Wasn't at all interested in MW3 before this, but seeing as Activision don't take kindly to people legally purchasing their games anymore, I think I'll go ahead and help them out by pirating it.
  • KungFoo - November 6, 2011 6:34 a.m.

    They're not punishing people. It was speculated that they would, but Activision have said that they won't punish anyone for playing early. Read the comments section before you make a post
  • CitrusSour - November 6, 2011 11:38 a.m.

    Thats the spirit!!!
  • lowfatsushi - November 7, 2011 11:02 a.m.

    agreed. arrg.
  • KungFoo - November 5, 2011 7:21 a.m.

    Taken from IGN; Activision Won't Ban Early Modern Warfare 3 Players "We value and appreciate the community's support. We have no interest in banning legitimate copies in these last few days," Activision told Joystiq. "We just ask for everyone to wait for Tuesday when everybody can play the game together." So calm down
  • Net_Bastard - November 4, 2011 6:27 p.m.

    Didn't Dark Sould also punish early buyers by putting hard character ghosts at the beginning of the game? And didn't GR and the commenters praise them for it? Reverse bias!
  • garnsr - November 4, 2011 4:01 p.m.

    I'd just like to agree that it doesn't make any sense to punish anyone who gets a game that's on sale at a store. If the game's finished and in stores why on Earth shouldn't people play it, why must everyone wait until a certain day?
  • GhostbustTyler - November 4, 2011 4:01 p.m.

    That is bullsh*t. Don't punish the people who legally bought the game, punish the idiotic staff of stores that sell the product too early.
  • samgardner94 - November 4, 2011 2:51 p.m.

    Hate to be that guy, but it seems people are using this as an excuse to jump on the'everyoone hates activision bandwagon' i mean seriously it said 'may affect your account' not delete it, it might just be a bit of a glitch or bug, problem with online account system because they wouldn't have realeased the first patch, i dunno i'm not a computer expert or whatever but i think people are overreacting, activision didnt do anything, the consumers didnt do anything, and deleting an account is no reason to sue someone thats absolutely ridiculous, if anyone should be sued it sohuld be to the retailers because it caused other companies who are sticking to the actual release date lose out on sales. For once people just don't blame activision for everything
  • GeoShock - November 5, 2011 9:44 a.m.

    And the internet has helped maintain such bandwagoning in the last decade. Sad but true. It seems to me that hating on MW3 and Activision has become the current hip-o-meter - if you hate Activision, hate MW3 or at least play BF3 instead, then you are suddenly hip. Not saying that BF3 is NOT cool, of course. Already playing a pre-ordered copy of BF3 and will not hesitate to get MW3, pirated or otherwise - both versions will be readily available where I live.
  • BrianDowns - November 5, 2011 9:45 p.m.

    I have hated Avtivision since they bought out a rival studio developing a greater guitar hero esque technology and disbanded it. Activision are the corporate baddies of the games industry. That is fact. I don't dislike Activision because it's cool or hip to do so, I dislike them simply because all they care about is money.
  • Viron - November 4, 2011 2:36 p.m.

    By "may impact your account" they probably mean all of your stats will get reset launch day. I don't really see MS and Sony banning people off of PSN and XBL for pre-play. But hey, if you want to assume that means activision will sneak into your house in the dead of night and steal your game and your console, then I guess you could take it that way. Also, unless it's is some kind of ban that transcends creating a new account and keeps you from playing the game, I wouldn't exactly call it a "punishment."
  • Sinosaur - November 4, 2011 2:27 p.m.

    Okay, Activision, I won't play your game.
  • pr0tostar - November 4, 2011 2:23 p.m.

    Does this apply to PSN as well? I feel like *daring* Activision to do something to me over this. I'm honestly not an FPS buff, but I would gladly pick this up if I saw it at K-Mart today, just to see what happens. This is no one's fault except for Activision, be it in-retailer, on twitter, whatever. None of this process (or checking twitter, which I will never make an account to) is the slightest responsibility of the consumer. My legal purchase is my legal purchase. Like you said it's insulting, but to a gamer like myself, it's more of like being issued a challenge instead of mockery. TL;DR- I say we start raiding our K-Marts!! lol
  • reddeaddigestion - November 4, 2011 1:58 p.m.

    Please, someone challenge this in court! Please Please Please! It is NOT the consumer's responsibility to know or respect street release dates!!! That responsibility falls solely on retailers. Retailers enter into a contract with publishers to not sell software before street dates. The only contract the consumer enters into concerning the possession of the software is that of purchase. If I -- as a consumer -- legally purchase a copy of software from the sales floor of a retail outlet, it is not my fault or concern when the game is "supposed" to release. I saw the game, I handed the clerk a chunk of change, the clerk gave me a slip certifying receipt of payment, and I legally left the store having legally purchased a game. Period. End of story. End User Liscense bullsh@ be damned. I don't care if Microsoft reserves the right to suspend or terminate my XboxLive account without notice for any reason seen fit. I don't care if Activision reserves the right to deny service to my XboxLive account without notice for any reason seen fit. You CANNOT punish a consumer for legally purchasing a piece of software, nor can you hold said consumer accountable to know a game's release date. If it's on the shelf, I CAN BUY IT. I hope someone with enough balls, time, and money goes and does what it takes to have their account banned for this and then sue the sh@ out of Microsoft, Activision, or both. It would seem like a silly thing to go to court over, except that the precedent that this sets -- if left unchallenged -- is SCARY AS HAIRY-ASSED HELL. Welcome to 1984; where you can and will be attacked by a company for no reason other than giving them your hard-earned money in exchange for their game.
  • reddeaddigestion - November 4, 2011 1:58 p.m.

    wow... the comment system takes out all line breaks and paragraphs. *facepalm*
  • Whit - November 5, 2011 1:18 p.m.

    Activision would have to do something actionable. All Activision has done so far is generate a bit of negative press.
  • Whit - November 5, 2011 1:20 p.m.

    Strange--I see all the ;line breaks and formatting. Using Firefox.
  • HankVenture - November 4, 2011 1:54 p.m.

    Punish the RETAILER.. not the consumer! remember when games didn't get released early? when did this become the normal?

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