If You Get Modern Warfare 3 Early, Don't Play It Online (Yet)

There are stores that are, have been and will be selling Modern Warfare 3 early. If you managed to get hold of a copy, good for you! Just be warned, there might be a downside to your early purchase.

Microsoft's Stephen Toulouse has hit Twitter to warn those already in possession of the game that neither Activision nor Microsoft has cleared the title for play on Xbox Live. This means that anyone attempting to play the game online, or even play it offline on a system connected to the internet, runs the risk of having their account reprimanded.

The Xbox 360 has a system in place to stop people with unauthorised early access to games (or pirates) from playing a title early. Reviewers, for example, sometimes have to have their gamertags exempted from searches designed to suspend accounts playing a game ahead of its release.

Not that this will automatically happen to anyone and everyone playing the game now, but as you can see above, you have been warned.

@Stepto [Twitter]


    no, do et!... You're already dicks for wanting a CoD game, be dicks with a suspended Xbox account!

    I don't see why consumers are getting punished for, they legal went in and bought a game.

      Agreed dude

        Jump on my longboard buddy!

          Lets shave each others backs!

          .... too gay?

      It is a way to attack the retailers that break street date. If you buy the game early and your account gets suspended, Microsoft and Activision are going to tell you it was the retailer's fault.

      If you are a retailer, you don't want that kind of bad publicity. So it encourages them not to break the street date.

        But they are not punishing retailers they are punishing consumers

          The only alternative they have is to not distribute to that retailer and that hurts the developer / distributor more then the retailer. They probably hope that their action or threat makes the retailer less popular, however unlikely that is.

            I totally agree with trying to stop people playing the game before its street date. As the industry gets bigger, so does the level of investment publishers put forward to produce games and host midnight launch events. Street breaks cost publishers $ and at the end of the day they need to deter people from obtaining both legal and illegal copies early to maintain control of a launch - especially titles with this much potential revenue.

        Doesn't however seem to be working as a deterrent based upon the number of street dates being broken.

          By itself it isn't enough - agreed. But I'm sure Activision has been watching all the breaks closely and will take retailer-based action i.e. embargo agreements. Again easier to monitor if people are less likely to want to buy it and retailers are less likely to sell

    That's fairly shitty for the people who buy the game legitimately from incompetent sales staff...

    Stop bitching, people. Just a few days ago you were all saying how street date breaks are terrible. Now you're defending them. Only when it suits, eh?

      That isn't what they're saying at all. They're dimply saying this is unusually Draconian, to attack your players for the actions of the retailer.

      Which it is.

        Exactly - and if Microsoft/Activision were to follow through with these actions against people who bought legit copies from a store that broke street date, they would in fact be breaking consumer law, ie a product is bought and doesnt do exactly what it says it does

          I'd be guessing there's a clause in the PSN/LIVE terms and conditions that states they can suspend or wipe your account without reason, so whilst you could claim unfair, unless they could be severely damaged by the publicity, they're just going to ignore your legal attempts.

    That's odd.

    Several people wouldn't bother to complain but, if I did, and I was told it was the retailer's fault, then I'd go to the retailer. I'd probably simply be given a new copy of the game.

    Would my account still be screwed? And if so, what do I do about it? I've done nothing wrong.

    So, because a retailer essentially thought they'd get a one-up on the competition (I may well have been passing, thought "hey, that looks good" and picked up the game), my account may very well have been screwed and I've got no compensation, with the developers simply saying "well, we made your account screw itself because the retailer shouldn't have sold it to you".

    Note that this hasn't happened to me - I'm probably the only person on Earth not interested in MW3. I just find this bizarre and it sounds illegal.

      Make it two people, I also have no interest in MW3.

      Just wondering, does this actually affect the PS3 as well?
      To me it seems a bit mean. Usually publishers fine the retailers for early release, they did it with Target or Kmart when they broke Fable 2 release date. They were fined and were no longer allowed to sell the series in their stores.
      I think this is a much better solution because it only punishes the retailer and not the consumer

      Realistically, the developer (and Xbox) have every right to ban anyone who violates the Terms of Use or Terms and Conditions and it is pretty safe to presume that early copies of the game are technically in violation of the terms of use since they are "illegal". Since the retailer has broken their contract with the distributor/publisher by releasing early, they are the ones who will need to compensate the users with affected account. Unfortunately it will take a while but if affected users can prove they bought a legit copy to microsoft, they will be forced to fix the account and it will be up to the affected user to seek compensation from the retailer.
      The legal system in any online service (social media/gaming etc) is grey in a lot of areas and unfortunately all legal processes take a long time and for something as "small" as a single gamertag, ultimately not worth the hassles

    Isn't the whole point of COD to play online? Didn't even know it still had a campaign

    You're fully aware that the shop shouldn't be selling it to you and that you shouldn't be in possession of a copy at that point in time...

      And what if somebodys Nanna walked in, who thinks COD is a type of fish, and has no idea about release dates or video games in general and bought it as a birthday present?

        Cmon, that's the best scenario you can come up with?

        What are the odds that the nanna buys a game the game and the person receives it as their present all before the actual release date? Hell, even IF that happens, the recipient is still going to know that they've received a copy of the game prior to it's official release date...

        Or are you assuming the nanna with no idea about this stuff is going to take it home, pop it in her console and test it to see if it works and in the process have her account banned or whatever?

          I dont think you understand the point of this discussion at all - regardless if somebody buys a game knowing full well they have purchased or had it purchased for them, legally from a retailer, before the release date, they have done nothing wrong and are entitled to all aspects promised to them on the packaging of a game, and in no way deserve to be punished. And if they are whoever is punishing them is breaking a statute of consumer law which states that a product should do exactly what it says it does - in the case of MW3, online play.

            Oh I understand the point completely but I'm thinking that you don't understand my point. It doesn't matter if legally the consumer has done nothing wrong, they are fully aware that they shouldn't be in possession of the game. It's just a case of simple logic and common sense, you have something you shouldn't yet have and that leaves you with a choice. Do you;

            a) Use it anyway and take the risk of there being consequences
            b) Wait for the appropriate time to use the product, in this instance on/after release date

            At no point was I arguing the legalities of the situation, just the moral/ethical side. Knowingly doing something that you shouldn't be doing (again, legality aside) and then being punished for it? I'm sorry but don't try and play the victim.

            The self-entitled nature of some people today is really astounding.

              Simple logic and common sense? Morals and ethics? Are you for real? What is illogical, defys common sense, immoral and unethical about getting something you are completely entitled to?

              "you have something you shouldnt" - how do you justify this? If you have paid have for it you are entitled to it, you didnt steal it, you didnt pirate it, you if fact have something you should.

                You have knowingly obtained a product before it should be on the market via the unscrupulous methods of a retailer. Is it that hard to understand?

                  "it is" on the market when it is up for sale. Would you seriously walk away from the sale of a game, heck anything you were eagerly anticipating, if you saw it for sale on a shelf some where? Also I cant help but notice your picture is that of the Mortal Kombat logo, may I ask, do you own the new Mortal Kombat'

    I have a copy right now which I got from a video rental store (not naming names) and I can't play it because I could be banned.. Kinda blows..

    I have a copy which i got from a video rental store (not naming names) but can't play it because of these bans... kinda blows..

    I just keep looking at the picture and noting the $59.99 for a new release AAA game at a store

      I'm pretty sure that's around the standard price for AAA in the US.

    Wow so someone walks into a store, pays for a game, then gets punished for playing it. I'm against piracy but I'm also against being dicked around for being a genuine consumer.

    One week on the MajorNelson.com podcast late last year, Mr Hyrb explained that playing a normal retail copy early will not get a player banned. However, playing an unmarked disc that you got from your dodgy friend probably will. If audio was searchable, I'd find it and link you to it.

      As far as i was aware, once the game leaves distibution centres or is in transit most publishers feel its fair game and arent bothered if u r playing it a few days early. Easy solution is to restart the stats upon release or have it disabled before release to keep the playing field level.

    I'm assuming PS3 players are fine?

    typical activision, they paid for our game? a store screwed up? BAN THEM, BAN THEM NOW!!! NO REFUNDS!

      And if EA had done this with BC3?

      "They're just protecting their IP" and other assorted bs right?

    God Activision is a bunch of idiots.

    There's already a shitload of footage on the internet of the game and plenty of people clearly had it. Why not just stop being dicks and let people who have the freaking game play it instead of upholding some fantasy dream the the world will end or the sales of the game will plummet just because someone plays it early.

    Not that I care and I have no desire to play the game at all, let alone early, but it's just the matter of principal that drives me up the fucking wall. Producers are just such evil assholes these days they really astound me as their greed continues to grow.

      Developers invest a lot of money in trying to get release dates just right to either maximise sales, and in some cases, to reduce the chances of server shutdown through overpopulation, in addition to balancing multiplayer for MW3 specifically. Early releases (which are a violation of the distribution contract) give those with an early copy an advantage over those without an early copy and Activision is trying to keep multiplayer fair through these bannings. In addition retailers do not have the right to take another company's work (2 years of it!) and decide when it is sold, so when they do it makes Activision and Infinity Ward look like fools. There is also the potential to hurt sales if it turns out that in a level there are huge bugs that affect overall gameplay that were going to be fixed with the Launch Day Patch, however most players of CoD (that I have encountered) are, no offense to anyone in particular, morons who wouldn't understand that this is how games work and could potentially cancel their order and cost Activision sales.
      I hate CoD with a passion, but I hold no grudges against the developer and find it ridiculous that people think developers are evil when they are a company. The point of a company is to maximise profits for the shareholders and not, sadly, to give the greatest experience for consumers.

    So, instead of simply shutting down the servers until the release date, they ban people instead? Horrible play by a huge company like this, it's going to net you some haters.

    The fact that you can have your account banned for doing little more than playing a game that you lucked out on scoring early online is fucking terrible.

Join the discussion!