A day after the United States' biggest games-only retailer, GameStop started selling Modern Warfare 2 early, Activision has labeled the practice disappointing. Fellow publishers Sony and Capcom also weighed in.
"Activision is disappointed to learn that some retail locations have released ahead of schedule," a company spokesperson told Kotaku in a statement before reiterating comments from the weekend that the company has given no retailer permission to sell the game prior to November 10.
Activision's disappointment comes at an awkward hour as, this evening, a GameStop in New York City's Union Square is co-hosting a Modern Warfare 2 launch event with Activision and Microsoft.
A GameStop representative declined to offer any further comment about the company's move beyond company comments from the weekend confirming it had officially greenlit the early sale in some regions of the county.
A representative for Microsoft, which is producing a special Modern Warfare 2 Xbox 360 bundle, referred all comment to Activision.
But Activision peer Capcom did sound a note of caution about the whole situation.
"Street dates are broken all the time," Capcom director of communications and industry veteran Chris Kramer told Kotaku. "But I've never seen the decision made at a corporate level before. Launching a new game is an incredibly complicated process for the publisher at a level of Capcom or Activision, a process that makes publishers rely heavily on partners at many levels. That one of those partners – especially a partner that still is a significant part of a publisher's business – could just decide to change a roll-out of a game is more than a bit distressing."
The early breaking of the street date for Modern Warfare 2, which seemed to be spurred by copies of the game sent to retailers mid-week going on sale early in mom-and-pop stores.
GameStop's move would seem to strain the company's relationship with publishers, but none indicated to Kotaku that they plan to take action.
Activision reps did not address specific Kotaku queries about whether the company would take any action against GameStop or change any of its practices involving shipping games early to retailers.
Capcom's Kramer said he did not think the Modern Warfare 2 incident would not change his company's policies about product delivery and street dates. A country the geographic size of the U.S. needs product to be spread early in preparation for a big launch he said.
PlayStation maker Sony Computer Entertainment of America also doesn't plan changes. "If GameStop broke any street on MW2, that's between GameStop and Activision," SCEA director of corporate communications, Patrick Seybold, told Kotaku. This won't impact the way we work with GameStop or other retailers."
Representatives from some other major publishers, including EA, Take Two and Warner Brothers declined to comment for this story.