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Broken Street Dates: Are Bans The Answer?

Broken Street Dates: Are Bans The Answer?

Written Friday, November 11, 2011 By Lee Bradley
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Last week, the biggest title in the history of games hit shelves early. Some retailers, eager to get in on the action before their competitors, broke Modern Warfare 3’s street date. Across the world, eager gamers snapped up early copies and headed straight to Xbox Live.


Microsoft's Tolouse was caught in the middle last week.

Activision wasn’t happy. Director of Policy and Enforcement for Xbox Live, Stephen Tolouse, initially not bothered by legitimate players, tweeted, "clarification: dblchk'd with Activision. Mw3 pre-release play not authorised. So pls be patient. Playing early may impact your account!"

The community responded in uproar. Why should consumers who have legitimately purchased a game be reprimanded? Shouldn’t the street date-breaking stores and the early-shipping retailers be punished instead? The story spread throughout the internet, with many outlets, including ours, reporting that Xbox Live bans were to be dished out to those playing the game early.

In light of the coverage, Infinity Ward’s Creative Strategist, Robert Bowling, headed to Twitter to clarify, "No plans to ban legit fans, but try to wait til midnight launch on Tuesday to play #MW3.”

So what the hell actually happened? Did Activision plan on dishing out bans for innocent gamers, only to change their mind in the face of community outrage? Were Microsoft prepared to ban players from Xbox Live at the behest of Activision? And perhaps most importantly, what are Activision doing about the real problem: street date busting retailers? We attempted to find out.

Microsoft, for its part, was open with us in regards to its policies. Enforcement of the Xbox Live service is primarily intended to stop piracy and abuse. With players of pre-release games, the company is only interested in bans for those it suspects to be running modded consoles and pirated games.

The media plays pre-release games over Xbox Live every day of the year without action. Microsoft know when review code has been distributed and act accordingly. It’s only when games are being played before even the reviewers that there’s a problem. Put simply, if you legitimately buy an Xbox 360 game from a retailer early, there is no precedent to suggest you are in trouble, according to Microsoft.


PANIC!!!!... at the Disco. Baddumtsh!

In this case, the problem came from Activision. Initiated by Tolouse’s tweet, sent after direct communication with Activision themselves, it was the publisher that initiated talk of possible punishments. The statement spread in seconds, helped along by official channels and was repeated by every major gaming outlet. The result was the intimidation of gamers who had done nothing more than buy the year's most anticipated game from a retailer who just so happened to have breached their contract with the game’s publisher. Thus, not the consumer’s fault.

It's not helped, of course, by the method of delivery. Twitter is not an appropriate medium for matters such as this. The fact that it is limited to just 140 characters means that tweets are often reduced to blunt statements that are open to misinterpretation. By the time that Activision had flip-flopped, it was too late. Gamers were already angry.

It is, at best, poor service as a result of garbled PR messages distributed along inappropriate lines. We contacted Activision to clarify where Tolouse got the initial message from, as well as their policies on pre-release player bans. We hoped that they could clear up the confusion. But they have yet to reply.

We also asked them about the most worrying aspect of the story. While Activision and Microsoft dedicated their time to clearing up muddled PR messages, the real issue had gone unmentioned. The fact is that retailers regularly break street dates, allowing gamers to take titles home early. This is the root of the problem.

If publishers punished retail outlets for breaking legal agreements about release dates, then all of this could be avoided. Yet it seems little is being done to tackle the issue. In the absence of a statement by Activision, we have to rely on the eye-opening work of another media outlet from earlier this week.


K-Mart - so big the staff plays life-sized Tetris in its aisles.

While investigating broken street dates, SarcasticGamer was told by one anonymous retailer why independent games stores regularly sell games before the official release. “It’s usually a financial thing… the second [the chain stores] open, that’s where all the customers go. So I can understand why they do it, but at the same time it is breaking the street date, breaking the contract they made with the supplier.”

It was when the manager took action, however, that the most startling revelation came. “I used to complain,” he said, “I used to tell them and they don’t care. I don’t know how many times I’ve complained, bought copies, took pictures, sent them away to Activision… I was told by Activision, ‘I don’t care about one little shop in Glasgow,’ and that was the response I got.”

Disappointing. Yet it’s not just independent retailers, or “one little shop in Glasgow” that do it. Larger stores across the world regularly break street dates too. K-Mart, who sold MW3 early, has also allowed Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2 and most recently Skyrim to hit shelves before the official release date. Basically, everyone is at it.

While indie stores believe that the only way they can survive is by getting games out earlier than their larger rivals, national and multinational companies seem confident in breaking street dates without fear of reprisal. They are untouchable, basically, emboldened by the fact that publishers like Activision are impotent to punish them. Because what are Activision going to do? Prevent stores like K-Mart from selling their games? That would be commercial suicide.

Yet something has to change. As long as retailers, both big and small, feel the need to release games early, gamers will buy them early. And as long as the likes of Activision choose to poorly communicate what it is we can and cannot do, it will always be gamers that lose out. It's our money that drives the entire business, yet we are the ones being treated most poorly. Do it for long enough and we might just stop buying them full stop.





 
 

User Comments

Forum Posts: 1972
Comment #1 by yamayamayaamaa
Friday, November 11, 2011 @ 08:19:55 PM
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Apparently it's a new business model. People will go well out of their way to buy a game before it releases.

The main problem in my opinion is the modders.


Forum Posts: 74
Comment #2 by Metalteeth9
Friday, November 11, 2011 @ 08:26:05 PM
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Holding a game that is finished for a manufactured "release date" is an antiquated model. Look at the music industry, where you have bands announce an album will release in 1 week, then release it. If the store has the game days early, why should they NOT sell it?


Forum Posts: 61
Comment #3 by JDAckers
Friday, November 11, 2011 @ 08:34:01 PM
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Its all a publicity ploy. They want people to feel that if other people are getting early copies, that they need to rush out and get their own copy. Oh no, Billy down the street got his game two days early, I better make sure I get it on release day so that I'm only two days behind.

A lot of fuss about nothing. Can't they just turn on the servers after it hits midnight in Australia/NZ or something? (for a worldwide release)


Forum Posts: 14832
Comment #4 by Webb [STAFF]
Friday, November 11, 2011 @ 08:36:56 PM
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@#2 - It's a marketing thing... TV ads, internet ad campaigns, magazine page buys, PR stunts, the whole launch event phenomenon, etc. They all have to coincide with a specific release date, especially the amount of money they spend on that sort of stuff. When you compare games to music though, there is one huge difference: the cost of making the product, which is why a big PR and marketing campaign is so important. It's too much of a risk to release a product that cost $50 million to make with only a week's worth of promotion.


Forum Posts: 275
Comment #5 by Dazz
Friday, November 11, 2011 @ 08:39:44 PM
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I've seen some people on GameFAQs who seem to have had Saints Row The Third for at least a week even though it's not out until Tuesday for the US and Friday for Europe and the same happened before with other games.

Me personally, when I pre-order from GAME or Tesco and get it a day early, I put the disc in the console to save the game data and achievement list onto my system but I tend to not play until the next day with official release if I can help it. Can't explain why I do that but I do even if it was officially released in other territories days before.

I'd disagree with MW3 being "most anticipated of the year" but then again, it's down to personal opinion (even though lets be honest here, a lot of people have finished the game already by now and left it to gather dust from what I've been reading and hearing all over)


Forum Posts: 3747
Comment #6 by TVthePunisher
Friday, November 11, 2011 @ 09:17:50 PM
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I don't know how I feel about calling Modern Warfare 3 "the biggest title in the history of games" but as a potential Game of the Year, I'm not objecting. I think it's a bit much to say it's THAT good, in the HISTORY of games. Maybe "ONE OF THE" but that's about as far as I'd stretch it.



Forum Posts: 14832
Comment #7 by Webb [STAFF]
Friday, November 11, 2011 @ 09:47:22 PM
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@#2 & 3 - You're missing the point of the article =P Plus, MW3 is the biggest entertainment launch of all time, so "biggest title in the history of games" sounds about right then.


Forum Posts: 8
Comment #8 by ExRev
Friday, November 11, 2011 @ 09:47:42 PM
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@2 First, I do agree it'd be nice to be able to sell a game once it came into the store, I would like to point out this example:

If I were to get only 50 copies of a game in about a week before it's released, and I have hundreds that are preordered, is it fair to everyone that preordered that only the first 50 that were able to make it to the store were able to get their copy before anyone else?

Again, yes I'd love to be able to sell some games the moment I have them in the store, but at the same time, with that example in mind I do agree with having to hold them until the release date.


Forum Posts: 571
Comment #9 by ConfederateSuga
Friday, November 11, 2011 @ 09:54:26 PM
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Was about to answer #6 much in the same fashion as Webb. People assume that sales don't matter when it comes to "great games". Fact is, if a game sells 30+ million copies, there's no one out there that can question its legitimacy. Sure, there are a lot of BF3 fans that go out of their way to bash it, but for every one of them are 4 to 5 MW3 fans ready to retort.


Forum Posts: 3747
Comment #10 by TVthePunisher
Friday, November 11, 2011 @ 11:22:30 PM
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I wasn't necessarily bashing MW3, it seems like Skyrim personally gets more attention than that title does and it's all I hear about these days. I suppose sales figures would make it the biggest title...if it really is over 30+ million already that's pretty damn good. Anyways, I was just pointing out one thing about the article...

I read through it and I must say it's not surprising to see games played early these days. The most notable for me was Gears of War 3, plenty of people had that what...almost 3 weeks early? Several people have had Skyrim now for over what seems like a week (people on my friends list that is) and I won't be surprised if I see a few Assassin's Creed Revelations players here soon as well. People with connections, stores that sell early...do I think any of these people should be BANNED? No...not at all, only if they're doing something illegal in obtaining it or playing it but these folks paid a retailer the listed price, so I don't think bans should be issued out in any of these cases.

Well...I'm also the guy who thinks banning for boosting multiplayer games is also very silly (Halo or from what I've heard in some cases, Gears), bans should be associated with hackers on leaderboards (every game has em), gamerscore modders, J-tag users, and the like...


Forum Posts: 5
Comment #11 by MCFC Blue Nose
Saturday, November 12, 2011 @ 03:44:02 AM
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There, was someone on my friends list playing skyrim 3 days before release, in the past I have got games a day early when I have pre ordered online, so its down to the retailers, the developers & publishers should punish them not the people who pay with there hard earned money for the games

I think Skyrim is the most anticipated game of the year people have been waiting for this game since 2006, it is for me personally at least


Forum Posts: 5
Comment #12 by MCFC Blue Nose
Saturday, November 12, 2011 @ 03:47:29 AM
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Also the person who had Skyrim 3 days early, he lives in Holland & said retailers there had permission to sell it early, but not from Bethesda

apologies for the 2 posts


Forum Posts: 560
Comment #13 by Blitz MMCCV
Saturday, November 12, 2011 @ 04:40:15 AM
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I agree with #2

If i had a shop and got a new release in early i would totally sell to avid gamers.


Forum Posts: 69
Comment #14 by superandyt
Saturday, November 12, 2011 @ 04:41:52 AM
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In days now long gone I worked at GAME. We were very strict on not breaking the street date on titles but on big releases we'd be under orders to listen for reports of other stores in the town doing so since once someone else had done it our manager could essentially phone some secret informants hotline and then since the street date would already be broken we'd be authorised to sell too.

Usually it was quite easy to keep track as games most frequently were released on Fridays but with special release dates, such as May the 4th for some Star wars (possibly battlefront 2),some retailers that weren't game specific would occasionally drop the ball(our local Argos was caught out a couple of times).

I can see the purpose of a street date not only for marketing reasons but also for equal trading between retailers. For example if Tesco get their stock of a huge release the day before all of their competitors is it fair that they could start selling early.

Overall though surely release dates are for our information, so we know when a game is available and can go to the shops accordingly. Unless they ever assign an in game achievement for playing a game the day before it's release I don't really see any benefit further than a fleeting "ha-ha" over fellow fans from having a game a few hours in advance.


Forum Posts: 499
Comment #15 by Wehttam
Saturday, November 12, 2011 @ 06:41:14 AM
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I honestly don't care if they break the street dates, i don't think it will really affect me. In fact most gamers will prefer to have the games earlier. The publishers can do their best to stop it, but at the end of the day if the retailer sold it early then there should be no problem in playing it online early.


Forum Posts: 101
Comment #16 by slycooper20
Saturday, November 12, 2011 @ 06:57:48 AM
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@#7
"Biggest title in the history of games" until the next Call of Duty comes out, really.


Forum Posts: 39
Comment #17 by Verkunder
Saturday, November 12, 2011 @ 07:03:41 AM
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Ultimately people are going to buy the game whether they could yesterday, today, or tomorrow. Publishers still get kickback for copies sold, regardless, right? I'd say let the people get on your game, have word of mouth spread that's 'awesome,' and see sales roll in. It's not like everyone on the planet would actually be able to buy it early.


Forum Posts: 12627
Comment #18 by Spanish Assault
Saturday, November 12, 2011 @ 08:39:20 AM
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I like how M$ back-peddled on this topic. Honestly they need to punish the stores but how can they know where the game was purchased?


Forum Posts: 1
Comment #19 by DoverJoshua
Saturday, November 12, 2011 @ 10:07:21 AM
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Trust me, not all big-box retailers participate. As an employee of Toys "R" Us working in electronics, if I break a street date I will be fired with out question.
All retailers are under contract, so any publisher or distributor could in fact take legal action against the retailers, probably in the form of a massive fine, but then would the retailer carry the next game?


Forum Posts: 2101
Comment #20 by mjc0961
Saturday, November 12, 2011 @ 01:14:55 PM
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@5: People have Saints Row The Third already? FFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-

I need to get a nearby game store that will break release dates so I can stop ordering online, because online retailers seem to be the only ones who stick to these dates. But paying for shipping (or the lack thereof, as many offer free shipping) is much cheaper for me than it would be to buy the extra gas to drive out to the nearest stores big enough to guarantee that they'll have the games to sell on launch day, much less earlier than that.


Forum Posts: 191
Comment #21 by ash356
Saturday, November 12, 2011 @ 01:27:26 PM
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It's simple.
If a retailer manages to abide by the street date release, the developers should send that retailer free cookies/and or cake, as a token of good will.
If the retailer breaks that street date, NO COOKIES OR CAKE FOR THEM! MWAHAHA! Teach them a lesson they won't forget.


Forum Posts: 297
Comment #22 by Juiceh
Saturday, November 12, 2011 @ 03:06:42 PM
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With the incoming Digital Distribution channels like Steam and the ability to download/buy directly on platforms like xbox 360, the physical retailers are losing a lot of ground. They're now trying to eliminate eachother by releasing games days before retail.
Skyrim was supposed to come out yesterday, I had it on Wednesday. Two of my friends bought Saints Row 3 today, it's not supposed to come out untill Friday.
It's nobody's fault really. Retailers are trying to regain their profits, online companies want a bigger piece of the pie themselves and gamers.. well who can blame them for buying games they want as quickly as possible?


Forum Posts: 626
Comment #23 by its delicious
Saturday, November 12, 2011 @ 05:04:27 PM
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If the suppliers simply allowed the stores to sell the copies the second the copies arrive, it would alleviate so many unnecessary problems. Consumers care more about instant gratification and instead of just giving the consumer what they want, the suppliers want to build anticipation. Hello, if people want to buy the game, the job is already done! Money for goods and services!


Forum Posts: 91
Comment #24 by bearmod
Saturday, November 12, 2011 @ 11:09:30 PM
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To everyone saying "well why wouldn't the store just sell it as soon as they get it so they can make money right away" you make no sense. One of the reasons there are release dates is so that everybody knows when it comes out. I gaurentee you that no one is thinking "Oh shit I forgot Kmart is getting their shipment of MW3 in today" the stores can estimate when the shipment will get there but they don't know for sure, so why would the customers? Sure somebody might see it out and tell some friends, but the release dates are so that the public as a whole knows when they can get it.


Forum Posts: 0
Comment #25 by i like conker
Saturday, November 12, 2011 @ 11:38:21 PM
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@4&7 how did you get Skyrim early sense you already have 1000G on the leaderboard


Forum Posts: 5
Comment #26 by BLACK SAILS 469
Sunday, November 13, 2011 @ 04:18:20 AM
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I don't know about everywhere else but in australia at least the retailers get fined for breaking street date. It still happens, but it means that little stores can't afford the fine so they have to wait until someone else does it first. But once one person does it everyone else does, and generally I already have preorders for big games so it doesn't matter if one store sells it early, doesn't change where I buy it from


Forum Posts: 9
Comment #27 by TheHuskyHideawy
Sunday, November 13, 2011 @ 05:22:11 AM
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Why not just make it so the game kicks you back to the dashboard if you try to play before a set time. Sure you could just disconnect from LIVE, but for MW3 where 90% of the fun is online, it could work.


Forum Posts: 7752
Comment #28 by Kairi
Sunday, November 13, 2011 @ 11:00:02 AM
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I don't think a ban would be the answer. It's not the consumer's fault that the store broke the street date!


Forum Posts: 88
Comment #29 by ScuzzyBunny FTN
Sunday, November 13, 2011 @ 11:15:51 AM
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I've always liked the idea of a ban with the condition that the ban would be lifted when you provided a copy of the receipt. It proves you have a legitimate copy, it proves who sold it (store and employee), and would make the publisher a ton of extra $$ from the fines, which are steep ($2500 per copy, I believe).

...its not just games, as Wal Mart was selling the new Pirates movie last week, and it doesn't come out till Tuesday.


Forum Posts: 2101
Comment #30 by mjc0961
Sunday, November 13, 2011 @ 12:07:52 PM
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@29: The only problem with your plan, and mind you this is a very big problem, but how long do you think the process of mailing in your original receipt to Microsoft to have it verified is going to take? I'm guessing somewhere between a week and two weeks at best, but likely even longer, especially for a huge release like MW3 where a lot of stores broke street date and thus a lot of people bought it early. Nobody is going to want to deal with that shit. Not the gamers and not Microsoft. And neither of them should be the one dealing with it in the first place. This problem is between the publisher and the retailer, not between the gamer and the console manufacturer who should both be left out of the fight entirely.


Forum Posts: 0
Comment #31 by i like conker
Sunday, November 13, 2011 @ 01:37:51 PM
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just let people get them early promblem solved


Forum Posts: 91
Comment #32 by bearmod
Sunday, November 13, 2011 @ 01:41:28 PM
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@29 they weren't selling it early. The blu ray combo pack came out a while ago and that's alll you could buy until this Tuesday when the dvd only comes out


Forum Posts: 402
Comment #33 by UltimateAuron32
Sunday, November 13, 2011 @ 06:43:17 PM
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this is so typical of a large comapny like activision, they play up like a spoilt child, and punsih the end user as its the easier option.

i buy/pre-order my games from Game, and sometimes they arive early, but most times its on the day. if they dont want you to play it, dont turn the fucking servers on till the games launch date. easy.

publishers make little sales til the release date, gamers dont get banned win-win.


Forum Posts: 30
Comment #34 by crunchb3rry
Sunday, November 13, 2011 @ 07:55:02 PM
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I think the huff over street dates is just because the publisher fears too many people might get it early and tell their friends it sucks, then they don't buy it. Same thing with embargoes on reviews, the publisher just wants to make a killing on day one to pull themselves out of the red on the stock market. A lot of publishers specifically choose their release dates to manipulate stock value. Bans are stupid. Most street date breakers got the game from shady store employees anyway. Enforce it at the stores, not in consumers' living rooms.

I remember my local supermarket telling me Disney was hardcore about street violations at stores, if you sold a Disney movie re-release that everyone saw a million times just a second before midnight they would blacklist the store/chain and refuse to distribute copies to them.

With games breaking street dates, the only ones people are trying to get early are assured successes, so if anything it's a type of marketing/hype the publisher doesn't have to pay for. How many people knew some guy that got COD early and all flocked to his house just to watch him play it? And then rush out to buy it themselves on the ACTUAL release date so they could all play online instead of taking turns?


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Comment #35 by SatNiteEduardo
Sunday, November 13, 2011 @ 10:10:17 PM
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My problem with some bans is there are some players out there who do not deliberately do the wrong thing. Some of us are internet and forum savvy and therefore know a lot of the do's and don'ts. Some people just buy games and play them online and therefore do not see a lot of the stuff posted on the forums and therefore have no warning.

My son is just getting into COD games and he wants to go online. I can see him getting sucked in by the hackers and modders so I am trying to teach him the pitfalls but his step brothers do not have any online gaming savvy people to explain it all to them.

I know that ignorance is no defence but some of MS rules and bans are over the top. I know its hard for them to identify the modders versus the accidentally infected people that were naive enough to accept invites and follow instructions and therefore they have banned them all. But I could see my son being told "hey if you do this the other team won't be able to kill you". I am sure he would think that sounds cool. Not sure someone like that should be banned nor the person who goes to a shop and finds a copy of a game on the shelf early.


Forum Posts: 271
Comment #36 by macd
Monday, November 14, 2011 @ 07:54:30 AM
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I just don't see why I should be punished for someone else's mistake. If I buy it in a shop, or pre-order it online and have it delivered before release date, surely it is the retailer who broke a contract (do they have contracts for this kind of thing?) and not me (I definitely do not have an agreement with publishers). Therefore it is their fault, not mine. If I pre-order a game, and it arrive a day or two early, I am going to play it. I should not be punished for doing so.

Anyway, MS or publishers, whomever it is, are targeting the wrong folk.


Forum Posts: 271
Comment #37 by macd
Monday, November 14, 2011 @ 07:58:08 AM
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Btw, I think the one little shop in Glasgow is G-Force. It's a small chain (I think 3 or 4 of them in Scotland) and are well known for releasing early. When the Wii came out, they actually had a guy from Nintendo come in on the Friday morning to make sure they hadn't yet sold the consoles.


Forum Posts: 98
Comment #38 by B Rock3232
Monday, November 14, 2011 @ 09:14:08 AM
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I think it is both the retailer and the customers fault. The customer knows the game is suppose to come out on the specific date. The whole world has known the date of Nov 8th. Some customers try to get it before the anyone else and the retailer glady sells it early. They are both at fault. Its just like if you bought something stolen from someone and you knew it was stolen, you can still get in trouble. Both parties knewn it was suppose to come out on a certain date and the both "broke contract". They should both be punished.


Forum Posts: 0
Comment #39 by G30rG31
Monday, November 14, 2011 @ 12:35:48 PM
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I work for a major retailer in the UK (And before you ask, no it isn't Tesco) and this winds me up. I get 98% of a full years games 2-3 days early, they are for me and never for anybody else, and should my tag ever be dragged up by MS then anyone with half a brain cell could see that I work for one due to every game having early achievements.

Call Of Duty, Skyrim, AC:R, GOW3, Battlefield 3 and L.A Noire are the only games this year I've never been able to buy before their release dates and I've not taken them home before this date and such. YET STILL, I get home 2 days before they're out, and BAM, I've got friends online playing these games.

Stores are not the issue here, we all know the rules and 99% of us don't break them (They aren't worth our jobs) it's the odd few bad eggs that take it home early. However the MAJOR issue here is online retailers, they send a day early, so what the hell is the point in us even stocking them if everyone catches on they can get it early?

I don't feel players should be banned, and I don't feel that store based retailers should be punished if they can't be caught, but online retailers should have some sort of fine per copy they send early? Just a thought.


Forum Posts: 401
Comment #40 by Wicelow
Monday, November 14, 2011 @ 05:35:06 PM
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Got my AC:R copy on the 10th. I've been really surprised that my retailer even sent me a text message to let me know it was available early...
And I got it from one of the biggest retailer here in France, not some small
store run by a couple of nerds ^^

Maybe they made a deal with M$/Ubi because they are the only retailer here selling the Animus Edition ?
Don't know, don't care... I got my game nearly a week early :)


Forum Posts: 401
Comment #41 by Wicelow
Monday, November 14, 2011 @ 05:40:17 PM
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And OT : legit copies should NEVER result in a ban for the player.
Rewarding a faithful player getting the game full price asap would be the worst idea ever.

But it's easier (and cheaper) to scare us than make something against the retailers breaking the date...


Forum Posts: 401
Comment #42 by Wicelow
Monday, November 14, 2011 @ 05:41:56 PM
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*Rewarding a faithful player getting the game full price asap WITH A BAN would be the worst idea ever.*

Makes more sense now ~_~


Forum Posts: 35
Comment #43 by crsbrwn2000
Tuesday, November 15, 2011 @ 06:09:58 AM
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@25 well webb does run the site, so as a member of the press, whether physical or virtual, he would have been sent a copy, as would most members of staff (i would have thought)to review. just happens rich reviewed it as he probably had more time


Forum Posts: 359
Comment #44 by Ali_P_84
Tuesday, November 15, 2011 @ 10:36:08 AM
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It will all be over with in a few years if you ask me. I can see games going down the route of "download only" so no way to get games early.


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Comment #45 by Erwo the Elder
Tuesday, November 15, 2011 @ 07:45:51 PM
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It would be really simple to put in a date lock that unlocked the game on the console when the game was properly released.


Forum Posts: 3
Comment #46 by Mik29
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 @ 12:01:45 AM
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Halo Anniversary was available from Tesco on the Friday before release.


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Comment #47 by Wreckon Dracgon
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 @ 12:13:17 PM
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K-Mart... I understand why they do it... they are a mom and pop store struggling to survive in a world of Wal-Marts and Targets. I don't even know where there is a K-Mart now they've all closed. I mean who the hell goes to K-Mart when there is a Wal-Mart every two miles.

It won't be an issue until a Wal-Mart, Best Buy, etc... breaks a street date on a major release.


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Comment #48 by MartyMcFly
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 @ 12:33:26 PM
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@45 - They need to allow game reviewers to play it so it can't necessarily be locked. But perhaps an access code would be required.

Yet, anyone could probably get away with playing it Offline before the date anyway.


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Comment #49 by FreiZeitGeipel
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 @ 12:43:29 PM
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It´s been a couple days earlier, so where´s the problem? I don´t really see why this would contradict their marketing strategies or screw up their launch event. After all, these people bought the game and were already hyped for it. And I bet that most of the launch events were successful even though some guys had it earlier. It´s not like anyone was hurt by that act - so I think the article is kinda pointless and Activision should really calm down before they lose the last bit of respect they have in the scene.


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Comment #50 by Wayne Warren
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 @ 01:38:36 PM
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Bah, well I paid 42 quid just to have LEGO Pirates early :/ and that was just 3 days and if Disney didn't have an outcry over a product with their stamp on it to be released early then why is there a problem with broken street dates?
I don't see a giant pissed off Mickey Mouse running about everywhere...

The digital age has ruined everything anyway with people downloading Music/Movie's etc. without making any physical sales

.. I'd love to get banned for playing LEGO games early though, that'd be an experience and a half


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Comment #51 by IVIR BLOBBY
Thursday, November 17, 2011 @ 04:00:54 PM
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WHY COMPLAIN AGAINST GETTING GAMES EARLY ?

this truly baffles me, it may be a problem but we all get excited for games the prospect of getting a game a day or two early. is it really a problem ? all it causes is us all to complain because we are jealous.

Release dates are really stupid just meant to build up hype & wait until the optimal time to release for maximum sales, but a game like MW3 should be on shelves the SECOND it Goes GOLD.

Why should a game that will sell no matter when its released be sitting in a warehouse for 3-4 weeks just so a few patches post release can be prepared & to make us wait.


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Comment #52 by SOTG Ace
Thursday, November 17, 2011 @ 04:20:04 PM
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If businesses want to sell the games early, Activision should now ship the games to those businesses late. So while the other companies are selling out of their copies, the rule breakers are not getting the people in that they need to sell other items. I don't think it would hurt Activision to hold the shipping back a few days, in this case, MW3 still would sell a shit ton of copies it just wouldn't be day one.


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Comment #53 by sleepydumbdude
Thursday, November 17, 2011 @ 06:00:23 PM
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Don't think they should ban. Some people are unaware they got the game early. Sure it might be a minority but it happens. A friend of mine got Resident Evil 5 almost a week before it came out at a grocery store that sells video games. Didn't even know he had it early until I told him.

They should just block online games from accessing the servers or perhaps offer a reward in free swag if you narc on the retailer with proof of the receipt on a game that you got before street date.


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Comment #55 by ByronicMan2
Thursday, November 17, 2011 @ 11:56:55 PM
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I worked at Best Buy during the release of Halo 2. In our store, the games were under lock and key until that day, but there were employees fired at other stores for violating the street date. So basically, the retailer got a slap on the wrist; the cashiers got canned.


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Comment #56 by diskin74
Friday, November 18, 2011 @ 04:12:46 AM
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I offered to buy a copy of MW3 for one of the employees at my local gamestop if he gave me my copy early and the guy still said no.

Granted a lot of store sell early to get an edge on the competition but sometimes it's also a case of ppl making a mistake. When Fable 3 came out I had a copy a week early cause the associate at Best Buy started calling people who pre-ordered the game when they came into the store not knowing it wasn't released for another week.


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Comment #57 by DecadentBeaver
Friday, November 18, 2011 @ 06:42:00 PM
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Seriously Webb? Biggest title in gaming history? Its not that good once you take away the MP! I don't play any of them, due to the SP being utter shite. Ok, may look pretty. But there is nothing to keep me hooked, especially the boring storyline. I have played most of the CoD games all the way through on an old account, and always wondered why I bothered. Everyone is entitled to their opinions etc. But that's a bold claim. Skyrim was the game I've been waiting for, and it was worth it. I will get my moneys worth from it for sure. Hell, I was more made up when Super Mario 3 was released then MW3.


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Comment #58 by zombieslayer32
Friday, November 18, 2011 @ 08:17:56 PM
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biggest title in gaming history i think not so many games have sold more games final fantasy,resident evil,mario,and even pokemon.also ive been waiting for a REAL SURVIVAL HORROR resident evil since 1998 and cod fans have to wait 1 year bullshite also dont want people online close the servers bitch fit over.


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Comment #59 by Fang Ma Guo Lai
Friday, November 18, 2011 @ 09:19:05 PM
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"Last week, the biggest title in the history of games hit shelves early."

This is where I stopped reading.


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Comment #60 by Suiken
Saturday, November 19, 2011 @ 04:27:16 AM
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Activision sucks. Stop giving them you're money.


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Comment #61 by Inexxa
Saturday, November 19, 2011 @ 05:05:11 AM
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#60, no thanks I enjoy cod with my 5 other mates to kick noobs arse on TDM ;)


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Comment #62 by Raven6009
Saturday, November 19, 2011 @ 05:32:21 AM
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At the very least they need to reset everyone's stats on release day. It's aggravating when you play a game online the morning it comes out against someone that's a level 45 with tons of weapon upgrades.


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Comment #63 by DJS
Saturday, November 19, 2011 @ 11:42:59 AM
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The solution is to either reset stats, or even better, just disable the online component altogether until the day of release, then nobody has an advantage over other players. If you get the game early, just play the single player. If you log into the multiplayer, it could have a message saying the equivalent of "come back on release day" with a countdown.


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Comment #64 by xbox21mike
Saturday, November 19, 2011 @ 11:47:02 AM
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Ban them all!!!!! They knew they they bought it pre release date, that, that was gonna happen.


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Comment #65 by Frankie Godskin
Saturday, November 19, 2011 @ 03:21:58 PM
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Since the root of the problem is stores releasing games early, publishers need to figure out the logistics of shipping to ensure the copies reach retailers either the evening before the game releases or the morning of release. If they give a game to a retailer 4 days before it's "supposed" to release, there is no disincentive for the retailer not to sell it. And since it's not the consumers' responsibility to memorize release dates and making sure we're buying a product on the "correct' date, we can't be faulted for buying a product available for sale from a legitimate source.


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Comment #66 by ash356
Saturday, November 19, 2011 @ 06:49:06 PM
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@57,@58, @59
I'd say the fact it's the best selling game of all time pretty much proves its 'the biggest title in gaming history', whether you like the game or not.
I'm sorry, you're welcome to your opinion on it, but I'm afraid the statistics are there, and they prove that fact. Hell, it's the best 5 day entertainment gross in history, you can't argue with stats like those.


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Comment #67 by Darth Bambrox
Sunday, November 20, 2011 @ 07:37:34 AM
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:/


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Comment #68 by Darth Bambrox
Sunday, November 20, 2011 @ 07:39:57 AM
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who cares, seriously, so they got the game early, good for them, if i got a game early i would play it not sit and stare at the clock til I am offically "allowed" to play it, the only people boo hoooing about it are the ones that didnt or couldnt get it early


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Comment #69 by darthchimp182
Sunday, November 20, 2011 @ 06:24:12 PM
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my personal view on all this, who gives a crap?

it's all headed for disaster anyways, digital media is growing, and for that to happen, physical media must decline (no point buying both unless you're phychotic - if so, message me and send me money i want skyrim ;) )

so this will eventually kill the highstreet all together, and a launch event will become nothing more than a "buy now" button changing from some dull, ghostly grey to a vibrant, shiny colourful affair that starts a download in exchange for some numbers being added to their account and subtracted from yours,

let the hightstreet get it's money before the big digital iceberg ruins their day....( and jobs/livly hood/highstreet etc)


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Comment #70 by darthchimp182
Sunday, November 20, 2011 @ 06:30:58 PM
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P.S. as for MW3 being anticipated, the most i'm anticipating is getting for less than £10 on ebay next year, no paying £40 for a campaign that my brother can finish in 3.5 hours, and he's terrible at FPS...

Skyrim is the better title released that week by far, i can't go play oblivion and use minimal imagination to make me think i'm playing skyrim, but i play MW2, or BLOPS and boom, it feels the same, CoD needs to change drastically to survive the comeing years,

anyways, back to the topic at hand. if they're so narked at people playing games early, how abouts adding a little bit of poison inside all the cases that will disapate by offical release date, but cause severe thumb loss if opened early? Evil, but effective!


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Comment #71 by darthchimp182
Sunday, November 20, 2011 @ 06:39:06 PM
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@66

as the saying goes, statistics can't be used to prove anything except some guy has too much time on his hands to count all that crap in the first place.

it takes more than the first 5 days to become a legend, yes, well done, it solds shedloads. Here's some cake, but i'd wonder if it has staying power, will people still be buying it in the new year? at easter?

if that happens, then it would deserve that title truely, but i can't see it happening, people are slowly waking up to the truth about CoD, that being that the next CoD is always a glorified photocopy of the previous, but just rearranged slightly. I'm no hater of CoD, i will get it eventually, and enjoy the campaign while it breifly plays out, but it is losing it's impact.

it's like books, everything has "bestseller" written in the blurb these days, and they can back it up by saying "this book sold the most copies between transaction 1001 and transaction 1003 at waterstones in Newquay"

it makes the statistic true, but knowing the truth behind the statistic makes it reveal how crap it really is

right, i'm laying off the coffee now....


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Comment #72 by darthchimp182
Sunday, November 20, 2011 @ 06:47:47 PM
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oh, and a solution to the early Xbox Live stuff, make the game locked and release a title update at midnight that lets the main menu useable

or atleast just the multiplayer portion of it, if people don't have xbox live access, they they'd just be buying a paperweight....

so ultimatly, the game developer can still control when their works fully go public. and as the recent dashboard beta proved, it is possible to allow select users to get updates while some don't. so that would allow reviews and beta testers and the like to register their consoles to unlock things as needed


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Comment #73 by UltimateAuron32
Sunday, November 20, 2011 @ 08:41:41 PM
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@72 this is EXACTLY the kind of easy fix they should impliment if its bothering them so much.

oh an a simple little "reality check" for the idiots, childeren and f**king morons that are plauging the internet in increasing numbers:

FACT: MW3 is the fastest selling game ect... can be PROVEN by figures and so on.

OPPINION: MW3 is the best FPS game of all time, can NOT be proven, theres no "best game ever" as everyone has different tastes.

get your definitions of what is fact and opinion sorted out before posting...


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Comment #74 by Jtpearl
Tuesday, November 22, 2011 @ 09:05:11 AM
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You really should of pointed out why K-Mart sold early. Some of the stores received their copies saying to be put on floor immediately. As far as the stores knew they were just following directions, not trying to get a jump on sales.


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Comment #75 by ash356
Tuesday, November 22, 2011 @ 01:40:05 PM
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@71
You're letting personal opinion obscure the facts.
Just because you have no high demand for it, doesn't mean the 6.5 million who brought it in the first 24 hours didn't. Maybe a better title for you people would be 'Most demanded game in gaming history.'
Quantity sold is no relation to quality, this is true. But if half the naysayers on the internet were actually listened to, any franchise that gets popular is automatically deemed 'crap.' This would constantly happen because big-headed fools will try and prove they're intellectually above the masses by hating anything 'mainstream', regardless of whether it is any good. Not all CoD haters are like this, but I've seen a good few call it 'mainstream rubbish'
Hell, I don't even have MW3, I went for a change with BF this year. Doesn't mean I can't recognize that CoD is still in high demand.


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Comment #76 by zarda1
Wednesday, November 23, 2011 @ 06:53:52 AM
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honestly they release so many games and dlc this was not the most anticipated game ever by far. maybe it will sell a lot of copies and be the top played game online but i heard about it and it was released soon after and few friends have actually played the game. I'm not a gears fan but people waited forever for that where as this game maybe a month. i've been waiting for the net GTA for four years now. this is basically just new maps for the same thing.


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Comment #77 by I GOWDIABLO I
Wednesday, November 23, 2011 @ 10:43:37 AM
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to be perfectly honest i know ill get a lot of thumbs down for this but it has to be said: Yes it is retailers faults for giving the games out early, they need to be busted for this when they give out GOW, MW, halo, skyrim over a week early at times...but to be perfectly honest, the gamers should be punished also for being stupid enough to connect to xbox live and play the game knowing full well they are breaking rules that say not to play the game before release date, these people need to get banned because its not fair to the people who actually reserve their games, and stand outside in line at a midnight release when stupid people have had the game for over a week because of illegal selling of the game, think about that people...if you wanna play the game so bad, at least disconnect your internet and play it where you cant be caught, dont make it unfair to the people who get the game on time....whats worse is when these damn people put the whole spoilers on the net at the day of release like people did with GOW3, showing endings and all....these people need to be banned!!!


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Comment #78 by darthchimp182
Friday, November 25, 2011 @ 08:13:06 AM
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@77 gamers who buy legitamatly games before the release date are not at fault and deserve no punishing, buy walking into a shop that is selling the game and buying it, there are breaking now laws or rules, and by using their purchased property, again, the gamer is breaking no rules, sorted.

the rules are being broken by the outlet that willing sold the game in the first place, therefore, they should be the ones punished, not the legitate (and probablly lucky) gamer.

spoilers on the other hand, yes, shoot the rascals, lol


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Comment #79 by Grummy
Friday, November 25, 2011 @ 08:51:57 PM
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Am I the only one who thinks its more than little strange that people are bitching and complaining that they can get games early? Seriously, this whole article reads like this is a major issue, but its not. Game has been made, its finihsed, its packaged, its gone gold its shipped, the stores have it. It's had weeks if not months of publicity, people know its release is approaching and want to buy the game, so a store starts selling it 48 hours early. So what? Who is getting hurt here? Nobody. I don't buy the marketting argument, after all, a publicity plan is not run 1 week before a games release, these things are put into action months previous. If a store releases a game early, and people go and buy it that tells me the publicity has already done its job.

Unless I'm missing something, there is no financial impact to the developers or publishers, no harm to the consumer, and nobody has done anything immoral or illegal. Why are people complaining? It's a non issue.


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Comment #80 by tincann
Sunday, November 27, 2011 @ 09:27:54 PM
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What's going to happen is this. If Retailers continue to break release dates, they will, take a Gamestop in NY that has done it numerous times, not get their games until the day of the release. If this trend continues, games might not arrive @ retailers until the day of release & we can say goodbye to midnight launches.


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Comment #81 by Dla911
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 @ 07:43:09 PM
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I'm not going to read all of posts usally read the first few and the last few.

@80, The issue with that is shipping sometimes does not get in until 10am-6pm so it will kill business and then getting it all in the computer and all takes time with people coming in buying games, phone calls, etc.... Either or the game has to be in the day before release.



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Comment #82 by S1lent B Deadly
Friday, December 02, 2011 @ 10:19:36 PM
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What's great about it is that I'm betting that most of these early copies are pirated. I've got a group of friends with modded 360s who download a disc image, burn it and they're off. They get to play nearly every big release at least a week early for free. With the economy as it is, $60 price tag of games (if they're great and worth it fine but most are not), pay for play subscriptions, week-after DLC, etc., etc. Who can really blame them. Oh poor Activision only made a bajillion dollars instead of a bajillion and 10 jillion. I could care less and I fully support pirating. Good luck to everyone doing it and I hope you never get caught.


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Comment #83 by Grummy
Saturday, December 03, 2011 @ 01:14:51 AM
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@82 That makes you an A grade scumbag, a pathetic excuse for humanity and a waste of good air. A perfect example of everything that makes this world bad.


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Comment #84 by darthchimp182
Saturday, December 03, 2011 @ 04:27:29 PM
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@82
you do realise that it's because of asshats like you...err..i mean pirates, that the prices of most media does go up, rather than down. so yes, people can blame pirates for alot of the worlds problems,

SCURVY SEA DAWG!


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Comment #85 by dellboy81
Saturday, December 03, 2011 @ 05:23:51 PM
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i couldnt comment on in store releases, as i will never buy from a games store on release. its always more expensive than buying online, easier and usually games are sent out a few days before and if the post is very good you can get it one or two days early. MW3 i believe was the first to be under embargo.

it doesnt affect me much though as i usually get games on release and not play for a few days unless its a kids game. if its something i would need a guide for i wait until there is one so i only need to play something once.


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Comment #86 by DeltaKappaEcho
Sunday, December 04, 2011 @ 10:23:17 PM
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@72 - MP sections could qualify for this (with Online Pass this can just disable the unlock until release) but NEVER for SP. It would require internet access to play Single Player gameplay and that should NEVER be the case. However, I think the whole idea is absurd because EVERYONE that buys a legit game new should have complete access to ALL content. Unless a lot of people have the game, won't be a ton of MP. And who cares if they "get the jump" on levelingup? They played more, obviously they'd level up. Anything they did in those 3 days you could do in the next 3.


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Comment #87 by Zombiedrd
Wednesday, December 07, 2011 @ 04:18:06 PM
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@83. I would say greed and religion make this world bad. Not pirating a video game.


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Comment #88 by darthchimp182
Thursday, December 08, 2011 @ 04:12:34 PM
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@87 wouldn't pirating videogames be greed though? wanting something for nothing is greed


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Comment #89 by Furl
Thursday, December 08, 2011 @ 05:51:09 PM
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If it's a mutiplayer game like MW/BF etc. Reset the leaderboards/anyone's ranks and unlocks who played early, on the release day.

If it's a single player game, who cares?

Pretty simple answers.
I don't see the big deal.


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Comment #90 by darthchimp182
Thursday, December 08, 2011 @ 06:47:23 PM
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well, look at it like this, lets say you're a sculpter, you've spent years scultpting this massive hunk of rock into the the finest statue possible, poured your heart, soul, and many a lunch break into making as good as it could possibly be.

the day approches when you're going to unviel it to a curious crowd, anticipating the look of awe on their faces, crowds of cheering people, you imagine the glory, the thrill of people appreciating the work you did.

then comes to day to unviel it, but no one had bothered to turn up because some jackass called "stealzurgoldz" has posted pictures on the internet and your big day has been washed away like a palm tree against a Tsunami...

see it from the developers point of view, not the gamer, i would imagine it's a big deal for them

((yes, i know, crappy similie, but hey, it's 1am :P))


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Comment #91 by Le Trholl
Saturday, December 10, 2011 @ 02:37:52 AM
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In my opinion, bans are not the answer to this. Although it is technically "wrong" to sell the game before the official release date assigned by the game's manufacturer, it isn't the consumer's fault that the company who supplied them with the game early broke the release date. Banning those players would not hit the problem because they didn't start the problem by handing out the game before the release date. The companies who sold early should not be penalized either because if given the product days before the announced release, they should have every right to sell it because they did pay for it and it is therefore theirs to do with as they wish.


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Comment #92 by DOPE BOI
Saturday, December 10, 2011 @ 08:30:56 PM
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We as gamers haven't learner to come together and show these companies what we want and or how to be treated. If we all or most stood together, we wouldn't have all these problems with dlc,etc.

Vote with our dollars. They want everyone to buy the game and then threaten people when they find a way to buy it early. Don't turn the servers on till release.


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Comment #93 by Grummy
Sunday, December 11, 2011 @ 04:12:32 AM
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@87 its not the specific act, but the nature of the person.


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Comment #94 by usefulidiot1223
Wednesday, December 14, 2011 @ 11:59:22 AM
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Like others have said already, holding finished games until a specified date it ridiculous.


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Comment #95 by theIncredible
Thursday, December 15, 2011 @ 10:03:20 AM
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@4 and @7 Technically it is marketing but video games became less about the consumers a long time ago. It's all about the shareholders. They will sell the same amount if they just started selling it once they were able to start shipping copies. No one who wants to play the games will care about a "launch event", that is just something to stoke the developer and publishers ego and make the board members get excited that they sold half a billion copies in the first hour of release.


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Comment #96 by theIncredible
Thursday, December 15, 2011 @ 10:08:13 AM
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Now to be more on topic, I worked at E* Games and then Gameshop (changed the names to protect the innocent). It actually became their policy to let the employees "check out" the game as soon as they got it as long as they had a fully paid pre-order for the game. That all started (at least in the area I worked) when Guitar Hero 2 released for the 360. So if they get to play it early so should everyone else.
They did freak out about selling it early because they always said that the publishers would hold future releases a few extra days before shipping. I never heard of that actually happening though and there was always games sold early by "mistake" throughout the company.


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Comment #97 by Perfect Crime
Thursday, December 15, 2011 @ 02:48:22 PM
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I thought stores were fined when they released street dated merchandise (like movies, games, music, etc.). I guess that's not the case then...?

In reality, if they wanted to, they could just shut servers off until the game officially launches. But stores really should be holding off on it. I know at Walmart, where I work, the system will refuse to ring something through if it's before the street date.

Stores really should be respecting street dates though. If they really wanna sell more copies, offer some sort of extra incentive (pre-order bonuses, store exclusives, etc..


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Comment #98 by Windylink
Thursday, December 15, 2011 @ 09:27:20 PM
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The other reason for release dates is they usually keep testing the final product to find bugs and release updates to fix those bugs. I read this blog earlier and the solution is remarkably simple: Like consumers companies agreement with other companies usually allow some lee-way with alterations and updates. The solution. Have penalty fees (after they agree to the new agreement that has this provision) something like 10-25 dollars agame sold would be more than enough to stop companies from doing it as New video games are very low profit margin at first (why selling 1 million copies is soo important)once they get to the "platinum milestone" it's money to keep the company afloat to make more awesome games.


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Comment #99 by xmanglerx
Friday, December 16, 2011 @ 10:15:39 PM
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street dats are stupid i understand why their in place but their still not cool


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Comment #100 by Troy Foley
Saturday, December 17, 2011 @ 11:59:06 AM
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I personally love getting the games early and supporting the mom and pop stores. F wal-mart


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Comment #101 by PMS Green1Chaos
Sunday, December 18, 2011 @ 07:27:42 PM
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I pre-ordered Call of Duty: World At War and the gamestop employer told me to comeback up to the store on the week the game was released. I didn't go until the weekend because of the crowding that took place on the midnight release...

It's really the marketing stores fault for placing the games on the shelves when they shouldn't be sold before it's released date...What game companies need to do is before sending the games out, each company that makes the games should send a notice that "these games shouldn't be placed on the shelevs until this date."


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Comment #102 by Grummy
Tuesday, December 20, 2011 @ 06:51:45 AM
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@98, no, that continued bug testing doesn't count, it is, in fact, utterly irrelevant. Before a game is shipped to stores it goes through the finishing and printing stages, it's called 'going gold'. At that point, its done, finished, the discs are printed, the game is being shipped. This process happens a good few weeks before release date to allow for complete shipping. Any furhter bug testing etc is then released as a patch. They won't ever 'go gold', then drag the game back to do more work, the cost would be far too high.

It is only that period of time where games are being shipped that makes sense where street dates are concerned. If Walmart, for example, get their copies first, and put them straight on sale, they would dominate the market and it would stagger sales. That maybe great for walmart, but crap for the publisher/developer and shit for the consumer. But this is something that would only make a difference weeks before release date. A day or two before the street date it would be very very rare for any distributor to not have their stock ready to go, so the broken street dates aren't hurting anyone.


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Comment #103 by three15
Tuesday, December 20, 2011 @ 06:53:00 AM
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Banning gamers for playing legitimately brought games before the release date is without doubt a totally idiotic thing to do. Like a 5 year old taking his ball home because he doesn't want to play anymore. Grow up Activision/Microsoft.



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Comment #104 by Benmahalf X
Monday, January 23, 2012 @ 11:58:22 PM
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@101 Yeah, because a notice would be so effective in stopping stores from selling early.

What the companies should do is not ship until the night before the official sale/release date if they don't want games sold early. If they don't have the product, then they can't sell it.

Amazon is awesome and they get it right. They deliver on the release day, even to FOREIGN COUNTRIES (I was shocked to get my Reach 360S on release day.)

I agree, you can't punish the gamer, they did nothing wrong. What kid is going to wait until Christmas if their parents say they can open their presents on the 18th?


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Activision
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US November 08, 2011

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