Call of Duty: Ghosts dispute causes UK retailer to stop stocking Activision games

Activision and ShopTo butt heads over dispatching games ahead of street date.


A UK retailer has pledged to stop selling Activision games after a dispute over stock allocation for the upcoming Call of Duty: Ghosts.

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ShopTo, a specialist online retailer in the UK, is unhappy with Activision refusing to allow it to dispatch Call of Duty games more than a day in advance, which the retailer claims upsets customers by forcing the copies to arrive through the letterbox days after launch.

Speaking to Eurogamer, ShopTo CEO Igor Cipolletta said that "Activision's policy of only allowing e-tailers to dispatch one day before release date effectively destroys an e-tailer's pre-order campaign," adding that "many deliveries inevitably arrive post-release date."

"This has the undesired effect of previously loyal and satisfied customers thinking that, if we can't 'get it right' for one of the biggest games of the year, why should they trust us with any future orders?"

"Their friends and acquaintances, by word of mouth and social media, (despite possibly not having ever ordered from us), would see us (and possibly e-tailers as a whole) as unreliable. This despite all the time and hard work my team and the myriad of other publishers put into other titles during the year."

"Of course this Activision policy is not for every title," continued Cipolletta, "but due to the volume and fever pitch Call of Duty seems to generate (both positive and negative), it causes the most damage to us."

Call of Duty: Ghosts is not listed on ShopTo's website at time of writing, and neither is Activision's upcoming titles Deadpool and Skylanders Swap Force. Previously released Activision games are still being sold.

Activision is unlikely to yield and allow ShopTo dispatch Call of Duty: Ghosts any earlier, according to Eurogamer's report, and the publisher is frustrated by online retailers breaking the street date of its games. Last November UK retailer SimplyGames publicly pledged to ship out early copies of Call of Duty: Black Ops II the weekend before the game was released.

Cipolletta, who says Activision's decision to launch Call of Duty games on Tuesday forces online retailers to pay staff extra to work the previous weekend, concluded by blasting Activision for its retailing decisions for the Call of Duty series especially and has called its attempt to sell the games in previous years a "complete failure".

"Unfortunately," said Cipolletta, "our experience with the Call Of Duty series in the past four years is that our campaigns have been extremely difficult to engender a supportable level of customer satisfaction and in regards to profit, a complete failure".

Call of Duty: Ghosts will be released for current and next-generation platforms later this year, though presumably not at ShopTo. Activision will show off the first gameplay footage of the game as Microsoft debuts its next-generation Xbox on May 21.

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Avatar image for Sorrow_316

In the end, Activision still makes their money. Why not just let the guy send out the games 3-2 days early to ensure Release day delivery? Personally I fine release "days" wrong, Our world is big and complicated and anything can happen to post / logistic packages. So what some people get it a week or days early? Does it really bother the global population these people just "HAVE" to have the game so early? Let them have it if they don't have a few days patience. Poor ShopTo is just trying to satisfy the customer with Activisions product and their future products, Activision should thank them for that.

Avatar image for lorider25

Activistion doesn't want to release it a day earlier and Shopto they don't want to have to pay employees more so that's the big disagreement?

I don't think I would be a successful business man because I want to strangle both CEO's of Activision and ShopTo (Never heard of them though)

Though using the word "business" is nothing more than a big f*cking excuse for being greedy selfish assholes.

Avatar image for osufan3id

Who is ShopTo? Eh...doesn't matter.

Avatar image for quakke


Avatar image for spindie

LOL "Everyone was expecting us to make modern warfare 4 which would have been the safe thing to do but we are not resting on our laurels" Woww activision you are sooo bad-ass!! upgrading from an 8 year old engine!! SO HARDCORREEE

Avatar image for botsio

come on guys this is a new ip and activision is trying to handle it the best way they can.just stick to the plan and lets get along fine.shopto's refusal will in no way affect the sale of this game.they rather stand to lose.there are outlets who are dying to be given the chance.

Avatar image for SadPSPAddict

So you think Shopto have the right to ignore Activision's release date and send the game out early? OK I think you haven't thought this through properly, never mind.........

Avatar image for suhinho

no cod bashing? i had popcorn and everything :(

Avatar image for thenephariouson

@suhinho Yep, i brought the beer : )

Avatar image for punksterdaddy

Well done Shop To.

People wouldn't want to pre-order a game and have it arrive a day later, than anyone else who hadn't pre-ordered it? I know I wouldn't.

So then, what would be the sense in pre-ordering at all? In fact, put an end to pre-ordering completely, then the world would be a slightly better place!

Avatar image for pmamba45

Both sides of this argument have legitimacies and breaches for their respective positions as you could sense, profits centered by rapport, in the end comes before ethics for both parties. For me, Bollocks with Activision.

Avatar image for 1234ritchie

I am with ShopTo on this one. Been shopping with them since 2 of my preorders from game, and 1 from Play, arrived 2 days after launch. So all my friends who went and got the games at midnight or in the morning and got the day one offers that usually launch alongside titles, I decided to go somewhere that could almost guarnatee that I wouldn't be penalised for pre ordering.

Avatar image for rad8045

never even heard of shopto lol

Avatar image for Random_Matt

Shopto games are from abroad anyway, hence you cannot trade in the majority of them at game, my experience recently with there barcodes.

Avatar image for garysingh34

Why is everyone blasting the retailer? They're just trying to ensure timely delivery on new releases so as to not upset customers. What's wrong with that?

Avatar image for richten71

That's the main reason of not allowing retailers to ship the game more than a day earlier is to control the game's release. I remember when people were getting Black Ops 2 that Thursday or Friday before release and were already posting video of gameplay on YouTube or even selling their copy for a profit. Basically, ShopTo is saying they don't want to pay extra on employment to get a the game out and so they want Activision to take the hit. It's ShopTo's prerogative if they want to sell Activision games or not. But, if people can't get their Activision game from ShopTo, then they will just go somewhere else. And they don't think this will make people think they are unreliable.

Avatar image for dunkmunkey

Of course the real reason is that Shopto are notorious for delivering games 1-3 days before they are supposed to, some people got black ops 2, 4 days before release so I have to really side with activision in this, as any game employee will tell you its probably going to hurt shopto because they wont be selling a major release.

Avatar image for tightwad34

WTF did I just skim through? I get the jist of it, but don't they know Activision is evil and will send someone to break their bones?

Avatar image for Henninger

**** both of em.

Avatar image for ncc74656

Call of duty sucks

Avatar image for FlameBoyBen

A company in with ethics, in the game industry.

I am pleased

Avatar image for TJSpyke

@FlameBoyBen Do you mean Activision of this scummy retailer? The retailer is complaining about Activision not letting them ship out games more than 1 day early. They are lucky they even get to ship the game early at all.

Avatar image for Shanks_D_Chop

@TJSpyke @FlameBoyBen They have a valid point, Activision are sticking to their guns so ShopTo are sticking to theirs. If they can't ship them early then they won't arrive on release day, simple. That being the case, consumers won't use e-tailers as they won't want to wait. So it doesn't make any business sense for the e-tailers to stock the product as they likely won't shift it.

How, in any way, does that make them scummy?

Avatar image for TJSpyke

@Shanks_D_Chop Read the article, Activision IS letting them ship the game 1-day early. The retailer is greedy though and wants to ship it even earlier than that. Other retailers have no problem selling games with the same system, so this tiny-unknown retailer should not blame their problems on this.

Avatar image for Godly_Kongming

People still care about call of duty 15?

Where has creativity gone?

Avatar image for hadlee73

I know what kind of mark-up retail stores get for games, so if ShopTo aren't willing to absorb the cost of staff and same/next-day delivery then that is their problem. It is not something the software publisher should have to fix for them. There'll only be one loser here and that won't be Activision. Their customers will just buy the game from somewhere else.

Avatar image for gbrading

Well done ShopTo. I've used them before and they're pretty good. I'm glad they're sticking to their guns on this one. It's like Activision actively want to kill retailer control and just go fully digital download (as I'm sure they'd love to one day).

Avatar image for TJSpyke

@gbrading You are pathetic. Do you even see why this retailer is scum? They are mad because they aren't being allowed to ship out games more than 1 day before the games actual release date. They need to stop complaining.

Avatar image for punksterdaddy

@TJSpyke @gbrading

Bit harsh isn't it... Scum?

Why are they scum, for putting their customers first?

I don't know about you but I wouldn't want to pre order a game, only for it to show up at my door, one or even two days after release?

They are a business of selling games via the internet! Not very good for business, if they don't have their pre-orders arriving at customer's homes on time, is it?

Yet you're the one calling @gbrading pathetic?

Avatar image for Shanks_D_Chop

@TJSpyke @gbrading You've failed to understand the actual issue here yet you call him pathetic? That's... well, guess.

Avatar image for Shanks_D_Chop

@Mkeegs79 @Shanks_D_Chop @TJSpyke Really not. I understand the point that the retailer is trying to make and I understand that TJSpyke is being a moron. That's pretty much all there is to this.

Avatar image for Mkeegs79

@Shanks_D_Chop @TJSpyke Sounds like your the one with the misunderstanding.

Avatar image for Shanks_D_Chop

@TJSpyke @Shanks_D_Chop Yeah... yeah, that's exactly what the issue isn't... Read and actually attempt to understand the article or just go away.

Avatar image for TJSpyke

@Shanks_D_Chop I understand the issue, more than you do. This retailer wants an advantage over other online retailers by wanting to ship games several days in advance (which most retailers do not, not even Amazon). Activision refused to give them special treatment, so the buthurt retailer decided to act like little babies and not sell Activision games. The retailer is the only one who will be hurt, Activision will not lose any sales and consumers will switch to a retailer that cares about them.

punker, there are plenty of retailers that can ship games and get them to you on launch day. Plus, there are always physical retailers that will have games on launch days.

Avatar image for JimmeyBurrows

Pleanty of online retailers have next day delivery, if they can't manage that then it's their own fault... My guess is it's one of those that rely on people spreading the word that they "got the game before release" to get sales and don't bother with decent shipping.

Avatar image for TJSpyke

@SIDEFX1 You think you are clever? This retailer is trying to take advantage of Activision, but Activision stood up to them. I applaud Activision.

Avatar image for Rohan75


how are they taking advantage of them, all they want to do is send it so it arrives by the launch date of the game. Didn't think activision had fanboys

Avatar image for Rohan75

@TJSpyke @Rohan75

Acting like baby would be whining, they're sticking to their guns. Also what's wrong with wanting more profit, capitalism my friend, plus the customer would have to pay more.

Avatar image for TJSpyke

@Rohan75 They are trying to get special treatment and ship games well before their release date, are too cheap to pay for next-day delivery, and act like little babies when they dont get special treatment.

Avatar image for Dereth_Rosan

@Rohan75 @TJSpyke @SIDEFX1

ShopTo apparently can't be bothered to pay for next day deliveries, but want to keep all the customers they gain from shipping games out well before release, for once Activision is the lesser of two evils here

Avatar image for dragonkantus

okay then...

Avatar image for pmamba45

A shame, as signed-for had good premise for this.

Avatar image for 2bitSmOkEy

Activision being Activision.

Avatar image for leviathanwing

@2bitSmOkEy every publisher... or at least all the big names have this policy.