Activision reverses Call of Duty demo deal

UPDATE -- An upcoming Call of Duty demo was to be made available only to a limited number of gamers. Activision reacts--and relents.

Activision today responded to a stand taken by 12 sites that specialize in covering the PC game industry.

The group of fan sites called a decision by Activision to make the Call of Duty demo available only to a limited number of gamers "disrespectful of the industry as a whole."

The demo was to have been made available on Sunday, August 31, to FilePlanet subscribers only.

The 12 sites wrote an open letter to the Call of Duty publisher and posted it publicly yesterday evening. It said, in part, "After discussions with Activision, the following Web sites will not be carrying the Call of Duty playable demo, even after its exclusivity is over."

The 12 sites--3D Downloads, 3D Gamers, AusGamers, Blue's News, EdgeFiles/Callofduty.org, FileFront, FileShack, GameGossip, Gamer's Hell, Loadedinc, Tiscali Games, and WorthPlaying--were then listed.

This morning, Activision relented and reversed its decision. In a statement, it said, "The recent reaction to the upcoming Call of Duty demo has caught us here at Activision by surprise. We're appreciative and excited about the high level of enthusiasm the game has received throughout the gaming community. Due to the tremendous demand for the demo...we are...making the demo freely available to all gamers."

Late this afternoon, GameSpot caught up with Activision's David Pokress, director of global brand management, who shed additional light on the initial decision to offer the demo only to a limited group of gamers. "While I'm unable to discuss specific partnerships, we of course take our demos very seriously and are always excited to release them to our fans--especially in the case of Call of Duty. Throughout our campaign on Call of Duty...we've tried to consider new and different ways to update fans on this great game."

And as to why the decision was ultimately made to offer the demo to any and all gamers, Pokress added, "We realized this week that demand exceeded our expectations, from plans we had originally proposed as a broader marketing initiative. We wanted to make sure that our most loyal fans had the chance also to download and play Call of Duty as early as possible."

While the decision to withdraw from a business deal may not have been the easiest for Activision, Pokress sounded comfortable with this morning's decision. "The team at Infinity Ward has made an absolutely great game, and while we didn't anticipate such an initial reaction, it just goes to show how excited everyone is to play Call of Duty. Our fans mean everything to us, and in the end, we wanted to do the right thing for as many people as we could."

GameSpot will post the demo as soon as it's released later today. Check the link below.

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