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If You Buy Modern Warfare 3 Early, Microsoft Warns Against Playing Online [UPDATED]

Your account could be in some vague sense of jeopardy if you play ahead of release.

Even if you've paid $60 for a legit copy of Modern Warfare 3, you'll have to play offline...for now.

UPDATE: Here's Activision's statement, which seems to say early players are in the clear.

"We value and appreciate the community’s support. We have no interest in banning legitimate copies in these last few days," said a company spokesperson over email. "We just ask for everyone to wait for Tuesday when everybody can play the game together.”

--

No, this isn’t a joke. No, this doesn’t make any sense. Yes, I’ve contacted Activision.

Microsoft has traditionally allowed anyone who managed to legitimately purchase an early copy of a game the right to play online without issue. If you didn’t pirate the game, you’re free to play.

Xbox Live director of policy and enforcement Stephen Toulouse made a similar statement regarding Modern Warfare 3 last night.

"For those asking about MW3 pre-release play: If your copy is legit and obtained legitly, have fun. It's a great game.” he said.

Then, Toulouse reversed his position this morning, issuing a vague warning to early players.

"clarification: dblchk'd with Activision. Mw3 pre-release play not authorized,” he clarified. “So pls be patient. Playing early may impact your account!"

It’s not clear what “may impact your account” means, as it’s hard to imagine Activision would ask Microsoft to ban players who paid $60 for a legitimate product, let alone Microsoft following through. The whole situation reeks of weirdness.

So far, Activision has not issued a response. It should probably look into doing that very soon.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
136 Comments
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Posted by patrickklepek
Even if you've paid $60 for a legit copy of Modern Warfare 3, you'll have to play offline...for now.

UPDATE: Here's Activision's statement, which seems to say early players are in the clear.

"We value and appreciate the community’s support. We have no interest in banning legitimate copies in these last few days," said a company spokesperson over email. "We just ask for everyone to wait for Tuesday when everybody can play the game together.”

--

No, this isn’t a joke. No, this doesn’t make any sense. Yes, I’ve contacted Activision.

Microsoft has traditionally allowed anyone who managed to legitimately purchase an early copy of a game the right to play online without issue. If you didn’t pirate the game, you’re free to play.

Xbox Live director of policy and enforcement Stephen Toulouse made a similar statement regarding Modern Warfare 3 last night.

"For those asking about MW3 pre-release play: If your copy is legit and obtained legitly, have fun. It's a great game.” he said.

Then, Toulouse reversed his position this morning, issuing a vague warning to early players.

"clarification: dblchk'd with Activision. Mw3 pre-release play not authorized,” he clarified. “So pls be patient. Playing early may impact your account!"

It’s not clear what “may impact your account” means, as it’s hard to imagine Activision would ask Microsoft to ban players who paid $60 for a legitimate product, let alone Microsoft following through. The whole situation reeks of weirdness.

So far, Activision has not issued a response. It should probably look into doing that very soon.

Staff
Posted by TheMasterDS

What about reviewers? Can they not play the multiplayer until launch?

Posted by Mystyr_E

well at least they're not putting in a horrible web-based browser and forcing you to download a game from their service when you CLEARLY own the retail disc, right? I mean, who would do that?

Posted by Jeffsekai

@TheMasterDS said:

What about reviewers? Can they not play the multiplayer until launch?

You must be new here. Reviewers only ever get to play online on set days/times or at events.

Posted by Clinkz

I'd rather just hold onto my 60 dollars thank you.

Posted by FellOpenIan

Customers shouldn't be treated like pirates unless you want to turn them into pirates the next time round.

Posted by MaddProdigy
Posted by Minos

So, battlefield 3 then...

Posted by MrBurns

You'll get a stat reset at most.

Posted by MildMolasses

I don't agree with this at all. Why is activision allowed to dictate this? Their problem is with the retailers that sold it early, and shouldn't punish those who legitimately paid for it. Much like why I dont understand why EA is allowed to shut down online play for their games (on on xbl I'm referring to) since money goes to microsoft for the purpose of playing online, I don't know why activision can insist on punishing legitimate purchasers on a service they don't run

Posted by Captain_Felafel

Oh marketplace confusion, how I've missed you old friend.

Posted by DonPixel

COD stats are serious business.. and I'm not even being sarcastic.

Posted by Yanngc33

it's 2009 all over again!

Posted by PJ

@Mystyr_E said:

well at least they're not putting in a horrible web-based browser and forcing you to download a game from their service when you CLEARLY own the retail disc, right? I mean, who would do that?

The browser for BF3 is actually really good. The downside is that its not built in to Origin or the game. Those who say the browser launcher is terrible havn't actually used it for more then a minute.

Posted by Napalm
No, this isn’t a joke. No, this doesn’t make any sense. Yes, I’ve contacted Activision.

Great opening, Patrick.

I rarely get videogames early. The last one I got was Condemned 2: Bloodshot, and that was just a day early, (on a Monday). You'll have plenty of time to rank up, people, but Stephen backtracking on his works like that and ultimately, well-established Microsoft Xbox Live policies is quite eyebrow-raising.

Posted by louis0nfire

This is silly and I don't think they'll ban anyone. I get tons of games early, including every CoD in the past and Halo, and there are always people playing early.

Posted by Colonel_Fury

So they'll be upset with me? Perhaps write a stern letter of disapproval?

Posted by believer258

The smart thing to do, if you get it early, would be beat the single player three or four times and then invite three of your best buds over to play split screen.

Unless you're on PC. Then you just don't play it 'til launch.

Posted by Humanity

I don't see how it's such an outrage. If the game has a specific release date then it's not unreasonable for them to ask people to wait for that date. Retailers aren't authorized to sell the game early and if they do then they're street date breaking which is not ok. So honestly I don't see how this doesn't make sense.

If playing one day early is not such a big deal, then playing one day later shouldn't be either.

Posted by InfiniteGeass

I think this is really dumb.

Posted by Crono

Even Microsoft is trying to prevent its player base from playing this shitty game. Good on them!

Edited by Corvak

good going Activision. Punish the fans because you can't figure out how distribution works. Then make Microsoft do it, so you don't look like the bad guy.

Instead of looking like a bunch of bullies, maybe just turn the servers off?

Posted by Winternet

No COD launch can happen without controversy and stupidity.

Posted by FritzDude

The game is out in... 5 days? I can understand ban if it's weeks before release, but this is days... Give me a break.

Posted by Intro

So ban people playing earlier even though they spent hard earned money on the game. But yet every CoD game is full of hacking and mods that seem to never get fixed (not MS fault, I know) and they seem to not be banning them.

Posted by Jimbo

Ha, bullshit. They might reset all progress or something. Woo.

Posted by AxleBro

@Minos said:

So, battlefield 3 then...

i hear its a good game....

Posted by yoshimitz707

Makes sense to me, Patrick. They can't tell the difference between a legit and pirated copy so they're just telling people to not play early in case they get wrongly flagged for banning.

Posted by Shadowjester

I can totally see them accidentally locking a bunch of users accounts because someone botches a time difference. I sure hope it doesn't happen but this actually makes me want to not play it for the first day just in case something stupid happens.

Posted by WilliamHenry

@Crono said:

Even Microsoft is trying to prevent its player base from playing this shitty game. Good on them!

Yea, because you've totally already played the game enough to decide its shit right? You couldn't possibly just be an anti-COD fanboy.

Posted by iAmJohn

What the fuck.

Posted by Sooty

Absolutely pathetic.

Oh well, you won't be able to play a bad rehashed game early. Who's loss is it, really?

Posted by gregoryc

Again, you buy software and you don't truly "own" it - according to Activision.

Also, what's wrong with waiting another weekend until you can play it online with friends (unless your friends also happen to obtain a copy)?

Posted by Jimbo

@Humanity said:

I don't see how it's such an outrage. If the game has a specific release date then it's not unreasonable for them to ask people to wait for that date. Retailers aren't authorized to sell the game early and if they do then they're street date breaking which is not ok. So honestly I don't see how this doesn't make sense.

If playing one day early is not such a big deal, then playing one day later shouldn't be either.

Because the player has never agreed to abide by any such release date - they have handed over money in return for a product and they have every right to expect it to work as advertised. If the publisher and retailer have managed to fuck up the distribution between themselves and sold somebody a product before they should have then that's their business.

Posted by Xeirus

@WilliamHenry said:

@Crono said:

Even Microsoft is trying to prevent its player base from playing this shitty game. Good on them!

Yea, because you've totally already played the game enough to decide its shit right? You couldn't possibly just be an anti-COD fanboy.

After playing the last couple of CODs and now recently playing BF3 I can say I am an "anti-COD fanboy" and proud of it.

Edited by Bladefire

@Jimbo: I agree with the sentiment but they might be able to get away with adding a clause to the user agreement (of either XBL or the game itself) that stipulates a punishment for playing online before the street date.

Posted by Katkillad

@believer258 said:

The smart thing to do, if you get it early, would be beat the single player three or four times and then invite three of your best buds over to play split screen.

Unless you're on PC. Then you just don't play it 'til launch.

I don't know how it works on PS3 but for 360 achievements are time stamped, if anything this would make you look more guilty.

Posted by WinterSnowblind

@Humanity said:

I don't see how it's such an outrage. If the game has a specific release date then it's not unreasonable for them to ask people to wait for that date. Retailers aren't authorized to sell the game early and if they do then they're street date breaking which is not ok. So honestly I don't see how this doesn't make sense.

If playing one day early is not such a big deal, then playing one day later shouldn't be either.

Many online retailers ship games early to make sure you get them for release. Yes, they technically shouldn't, but it's the only way to ensure everyone will get their copy when they should. I don't see how the player should be punished for playing a game they legitimately got early.. and I'd wager many won't even know this is the case.

Posted by depecheload

@Humanity: Because people who legally buy a product should be able to use it as intended when the purchase it. If MS is so pissy about this, then they should go after retailers who break street date, not the people who are GIVING THEM MONEY.

Posted by LiquidSwords

Already playing it, I don't give a fuck!

Posted by sp1der1976

@Corvak said:

good going Activision. Punish the fans because you can't figure out how distribution works. Then make Microsoft do it, so you don't look like the bad guy.

Instead of looking like a bunch of bullies, maybe just turn the servers off?

They cant do that, how would press be able to review the MP portion of the game?

Every other point you, and many others raise are totally valid. I don't understand why Activision would be willing to punish fans who have bought the game early and most importantly, Legally. I'm sick to the back teeth of publishers so desperate to control the launch of their games. Strict release dates, reviews embargoed to a minute after release and now BS like this are all examples of the suits seeking to control the fun out of this industry we all love. Its all image and perception to them, PR gotta PR I guess!

On a side note, bet I don't get my Copy of Skyrim early, mores the pity :o(

Posted by Nightriff

Activision acting like morons after EA was making a big ass of themselves with the BF3 launch, these companies are fuckin idiots. If a player gets the game early take it up with who's selling it, not the buyer assholes.

Posted by RobertOrri

Just don't have the multiplayer servers online before release if it's such a big issue. Sheesh.

Posted by Ravenlight

Yes but have you contacted Activision?

Posted by Equal_Opportunity_Destroyer497

@Clinkz said:

I'd rather just hold onto my 60 dollars thank you.

Edited by 234r2we232

@AxleFGK said:

@Minos said:

So, battlefield 3 then...

i hear its a good game....

...if you enjoy EA spyware and a janky Bad Company 2 like experience.

And compared to how EA handled the launch of BF3, this is a quiet afternoon at the beach.

Posted by fox01313

With the recent MW/CoD games I expect the multiplayer to be roughly the same as the last few years releases and the multiplayer fans sinking tons of hours in this franchise should have no time getting a footing in this new one to just continually stomp their way through the new one.

Edited by iAmJohn

@sofacitysweetheart said:

@AxleFGK said:

@Minos said:

So, battlefield 3 then...

i hear its a good game....

...if you enjoy EA spyware and a janky Bad Company 2 like experience.

Sofacitysweetheart, do you like anything? I'm serious, it seems like every time I see you post, it's you talking shit about how much some game or some thing sucks.

Posted by 234r2we232

@iAmJohn said:

@sofacitysweetheart said:

@AxleFGK said:

@Minos said:

So, battlefield 3 then...

i hear its a good game....

...if you enjoy EA spyware and a janky Bad Company 2 like experience.

Sofacitysweetheart, do you like anything? I'm serious, it seems like every time I see you post, it's you talking shit about how much some game or some thing sucks.

I'm disappointed that you don't pay attention to absolutely everything I do.

Posted by Stingraymond

@Mystyr_E said:

well at least they're not putting in a horrible web-based browser and forcing you to download a game from their service when you CLEARLY own the retail disc, right? I mean, who would do that?

Fuckin A

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