Go ahead. If you haven't already done so today, go to ModernWarfare3.com. You'll see that you're directed to the official Battlefield 3 web site. That's some good trolling, no? But who's sticking it to Activision by redirecting visitors from what appears to be an official looking Call of Duty site to one of its chief rivals?
It might not be Electronic Arts or DICE, publisher and developer of this fall's Battlefield 3, respectively, but an anti-fan of the Call of Duty series. It might be a former Call of Duty lover spurned by Activision's ultra-popular war game or a Battlefield convert.
It's almost definitely someone quick enough to snatch the Modern Warfare 3 domain name before Activision could claim ownership. The domain is currently owned by an anonymous entity, registered through a proxy and housed on web hosting provider HostGator's servers.
Until last week, ModernWarfare3.com simply hosted an anti-Call of Duty video and the following screed stuff with the standard complaints about the Infinity Ward and Treyarch-made series:
Modern Warfare is crap. On November 8, 2011, the most over-hyped first-person action series of all-time returns with the copy and paste sequel to the lackluster Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Check out the E3 2011 gameplay demo featuring the Black Tuesday level for a look at the epic fail of the campaign. Pre-Order Call of Duty MW3 Today for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC to secure exclusive bonuses only available online for Modern Warfare 3 fanboys who don't know that Battlefield 3 is the better game.
Now, the domain simply redirects to DICE's Battlefield 3 site, a change that went into effect this past Friday but was spotted earlier this week by a whole lot of people today. (Oh, thanks for all the tips, tipsters!)
Web site domain watcher Fusible.com has been keeping an eye on the domain for the past few months, reporting that the switch occurred after previous host iPage shut down the web site. Prior to that, the owners of ModernWarfare3.com attempted to gain a following on Facebook and by soliciting e-mail addresses from Call of Duty fans through a newsletter sign up form.
As Fusible has pointed out previously, Activision does not own the domains ModernWarfare.com, ModernWarfare3.com or ModernWarfare4.com. At least someone was enterprising enough to officially lock down ModernWarfare2.com.
Fans in both camps have been disparaging each other's preferred game well in advance of the official announcement (and leak) of the next Call of Duty, but Battlefield fans make have the most effective troll in whoever owns ModernWarfare3.com. So who does own the domain that should probably be Activision's? That's what we're trying to find out.
Kotaku has contacted reps for Activision and Electronic Arts seeking comment on the domain dispute.
Update: EA tells Kotaku that it does not own the domain ModernWarfare3.com.