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Activision is trying really hard to convince us the Modern Warfare 3 launch was a success

Boy, does Activision have some cherry picked stats from the launch of Modern Warfare 3 to share with us.

The MW3 'snake skull' overlaid on the main operators of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
Image credit: VG247/Activision

Activision is trying to paint the best picture possible about the launch of Modern Warfare 3. Even setting aside the fact that it is Call of Duty's worst-rated game, every other metric seems to suggest that this one is not a hit.

Steam figures at launch were down considerably vs MW2, and that's keeping in mind how Call of Duty HQ fudges the numbers so you can't actually tell how many are playing MW3, as opposed to Warzone or even last year's MW2.

Seeing as Call of Duty is Activision's only major release each year (main reason why MW3 turned into a full game after starting out as an expansion), the publisher clearly wanted to make any bit of noise it could about the launch of Modern Warfare 3.

The company published a press release that features some quite specific claims to show the Modern Warfare 3 launch in the best possible light. This wasn't even the sort of news that you get immediately after the launch of a new Call of Duty - like we got with MW2.

Instead, it was positioned as a thank you note to players to coincide with America's Thanksgiving holiday. So what are the metrics Activision is bragging about? Well, according to the publisher, players have so far spent more hours playing MW3 than they did in MW2 and MW2019.

It's clear that MW3 has a smaller player base, otherwise that would be the record being flaunted here. But, at the very least, the people who did buy the game are playing it more than they did last year's games, or the Modern Warfare reboot.

Activision has also claimed that Modern Warfare Zombies, the third mode of this year's game, is "the most engaging third mode" in Modern Warfare history. This means that it beat Modern Warfare 2019's terrible Spec-Ops mode, as well as last year's equally bereft Spec-Ops mode from MW2.

Considering MWZ is basically DMZ mode with zombies thrown in, it's not hard to see why it fared better with players. Activision is not bringing back DMZ, which was popular among Warzone players, in the new Warzone. In essence, this is the only equivalent of DMZ they have now.

And just in case it wasn't plainly obvious that Activision is scraping the bottom of the barrel with these, the company shared a statistic about the game's campaign of all things. According to the note, players put more hours into the MW3 campaign (per player) than both MW2 and MW2019.

Which is such a travesty if you know how much better, in every conceivable way, the two prior campaigns are compared to MW3's reheated leftovers of a campaign.

That is all quite interesting when you consider who Modern Warfare 3 - specifically multiplayer - has been targeting. Sledgehammer's plan to cater to ultra-competitive/dedicated players with all the movement changes, return of the classic minimap and the overall more arcady feeling clearly worked. As anyone could've told you, however, those players are in the minority, which may explain why MW3 isn't breaking any sales records.

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