In an interview with Joystiq, Activision's new publishing CEO, Eric Hirshberg, admitted that while the company wasn't prepared for the gigantic leak of Modern Warfare 3 info, they've congratulated themselves for the response - releasing four teasers ahead of schedule, garnering three million views in just two days - and have dubbed the event itself as a "cool day".
"No one wakes up and thinks, 'I hope there's been a leak and our timing gets all messed up," Hirshberg admits, regarding the recent leak of Modern Warfare 3 assets and even the entire plot itself. But, Hirshberg explains, it's not as if other industries don't suffer equivalent or worse leaks, so why should Activision get up in arms when its their turn? "And 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".
But just how did Hirshberg and his team convert those bitter lemons to sweet, sweet lemonade? Hirshberg reveals he sat down with the rest of his publishing arm and key Infinity Ward personnel to discuss a strategy to counter the leak's potentially detrimental effect. "Everything from 'do nothing; we're sticking with our plan; this will blow over' to 'lean even further into it' to what we did -- and everything in between". Instead, Activision opted to release four teasers for MW3, well ahead of schedule, to add an official spin to the now-confirmed leak.
"We woke up with a marketing crisis and wanted to go to bed with a marketing win," boasts Hirshberg, presumably with a big old grin stretched across his face. The teasers averaged three million hits within forty-eight hours, and now stand at 4.5 million. In contrast, Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops' first teasers garnered 1,000 and 89,000 views each, and Hirshberg is eager to remind us of the giant difference between those stats and that of MW3's. "o if you add those two numbers together, and take the sum and multiply it by 20 times, you'd have what we generated with these four teaser videos".
In the end, Call of Duty is out industry's biggest hitter at the moment. Of all the blockbusters around, it's the best-equipped to wither a massively revealing leak. And, like you've all been so quick to remind us, who actually cares about Call of Duty's story? We're far more concerned with the multiplayer, right? [Joystiq]