Until a few days ago, it was possible to digitally pre-order Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 for Xbox One through Xbox Live or Amazon. That's no longer the case, though nobody can explain why. Seriously, I asked Activision and Microsoft what's going on, but their statements don't make any sense.
ICXM first noticed these changes, discovering the deluxe and standard versions of the game had been quietly pulled from both services over the past week.
Here's what the Amazon page looks like:
And we just double checked it's available for pre-order on PlayStation 4 via PSN.
So, what's the deal? Probably just an oversight, right? No big deal?
Here's what Microsoft first told me:
"We are actively engaged with Activision to return 'Call of Duty: Black Ops III' to the Xbox Store as soon as possible. In the meantime, fans can pre-order 'Call of Duty: Black Ops III' for Xbox One or Xbox 360 from any of a host of retail partners here."
That is technically a statement, but it doesn't actually say anything. I pressed, asking if Activision asked Microsoft to take the pre-order down, and got this:
"Yes, the 'Call of Duty: Black Ops III' pre-order offers have been temporarily removed from the Xbox Store, however we are actively engaged with Activision to return it as soon as possible."
When I decided to look into this, my hunch was a glitch, an accident leading up the launch. Now, I'm not so sure. It seems fishy, right? A little weird?
I want to say Activision's statement is going to clear everything up, but nope:
"Activision did not remove the digital version of Call of Duty: Black Ops III from the Xbox Games Store. Black Ops III is ready for launch on November 6th and is the most anticipated game of the year. Black Ops III is available for pre-order or pre-purchase through our other retail partners worldwide."
If Activision didn't remove it, does that mean Microsoft did? I took Activision's statement back to Microsoft, hoping it'd open the door to any clarification, but:
"We do not comment on the specific terms of our arrangements with any of our publishing partners, however we are actively engaged with Activision to return 'Call of Duty: Black Ops III' to the Xbox Store. In the meantime, fans can pre-order 'Call of Duty: Black Ops III' for Xbox One or Xbox 360 from any of a host of retail partners here."
Yep, still nothing. Every single one of these statements is total garbage.
Here's what's weird: a $US100 "digital deluxe" version can still be purchased for Xbox One at GameStop. But neither the $US60 standard version is available as a downloadable purchase at GameStop for PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. Huh.
It's worth remembering Call of Duty switched marketing partners earlier this year, from Microsoft to Sony. Call of Duty's DLC will show up on PlayStation 4 first, not Xbox One. I'm not sure if this deal has anything to do with what's going on with Xbox Live and Amazon, but hell, nothing makes sense right now.
Your guess is as good as mine, reader.