Activision’s Hirshberg responds to Modern Warfare 3 leak

Wednesday, 18th May 2011 22:24 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Activision publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg has commented on last week’s massive Modern Warfare 3 scoop, stating that the firm chose to turn what could have been a bushel of lemons into a batch of “lemonade” instead.

Speaking with Joystiq, Hirshberg said there were many ways the firm could have gone about countering the leak that day, but with his background in marketing, Hirshberg decided to turn the situation on its head.

“While it’s definitely not cool to steal other people’s intellectual property, and while it’s definitely not cool to leak stuff that’s not yours, there are ways that you can respond that actually turn the lemons into lemonade, and that’s what we tried to do on Friday,” he said.

“It would be really easy to just obsess over the event, which was the leak, and obsess over how it happened, and that’s only looking backwards. In the meantime, your launch just started. And you aren’t always in control of the schedule and the dialogue, and you need to be comfortable of those rapids in this day and age.

“That’s actually one of the things that separates good marketing from great marketing today.”

Hirshberg went on to say that during the company meeting over the matter, some suggested nothing be done, while others suggested what the firm eventually chose – to release some video teases of the game and turn it all into “a marketing win.”

“We woke up with a marketing crisis and wanted to go to bed with a marketing win,” he said. “So what we did was we kind of took that exact conversation we were having in our conference room outside and had it publicly in social media.

“Through our various channels, through Robert Bowling at IW, through Facebook and through our YouTube channel, we reached out to our fans and we said, ‘Look, we didn’t schedule this. This wasn’t something we had planned. But everyone seems excited, so we’re just going to roll with it. So here they are, a couple of assets that weren’t scheduled to be out for another couple of weeks, we’re going to release ‘em to you today.’”

Hirshberg said the first Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops teasers attracted a 61,000 and 89,000 views, respectively, during the first two days of release. The Modern Warfare 3 teasers? Add those those two numbers together and multiply it by 20 and “you’d have what we generated with these four teaser videos,” he added.

“We kept coming back to the fans, to the people who love this game; who are just waiting; for whom that day was just a really cool day. All that interest for us we knew was harnessable in a positive way. The other thing we wanted to do was, if there’s gonna be a dialogue about our game, we want it to be between us and our fans and not between the leakers and our fans.

“You don’t want to spoil the surprises that the game has to offer. Leaks are not positive things, even though we might have used it as a way to amplify our initial viewership.”

Hirshberg closed out the conversation by stating that whomever Kotaku received its information from “clearly had deep access,” but “not everything that was leaked,” was “accurate.”

Modern Warfare 3 will be gracing shelves on November 8, according to various retailers.



  1. CroMagnon

    Is he trying to make a reference to to Portal 2 here or was that unintentional?

    Or maybe he’s hinting there’ll be lemon grenades in MW3….

    #1 4 years ago
  2. M. K.

    So everything true then? I am disappoint :(

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Majere

    Was probably a “planned” leak to start getting feedback from consumers. Just a thought.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. jacobvandy

    @1 Portal 2 didn’t make up the phrase “turn lemons into lemonade.” It’s a very common term for “make the best of a bad situation.” Now, if this guy had quoted a sentence from Cave Johnson’s rant, you would have a point.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Erthazus

    You can’t win the competition? Use the marketing campaign in full motion.

    So, everything is true… Well then, what can i say… wow… Just wow. If i’m going to buy Modern warfare 3, it’s not going to be on launch day thats for sure.
    I will buy it with a discount to try it out for few hours.

    @3, i hope that it’s a planned leak, but how you are going to change everything when there is less then few months left?

    #5 4 years ago
  6. nofear360

    @5: Feedback doesn’t necessarily mean change, it can be just thoughts on the campaign and such, so they see how hard they will have to work to get people off the fence (for those that are sitting on it) now that BF 3′s in town.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. xiaojiekbf

    ( )

    ( )

    #7 4 years ago
  8. YoungZer0

    @5: So let me get this straight, you’re going to buy this game. A game you already hate, only to play it for a few hours? Make sense much?

    #8 4 years ago
  9. ekfight

    Good with words,
    Even though theres plenty of hate on for CoD, im still gonna give this one a shot – with the hope and plan that if this one doesnt hit home then thats the last ill try.
    Man i hate blops…

    #9 4 years ago

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