Modern Warfare 3, the latest installment in the massively popular Call of Duty franchise, isn't set to hit shelves until November 8. But don't tell that to the managers at K-Mart, who this week reportedly released a handful of copies of MW3, a full six days ahead of the official launch date. According to Kotaku, at least one of the offending K-Mart outlets is located in Florida, where employees opened "boxes that said to put the game out immediately."
At this point, maybe you're thinking, well, who cares about a measly six days? To which we say: You are not one of the legions of Call of Duty fans who annually line up outside of stores, in the dead of night, sometimes in military gear, to wait for the moment when they can rip into the plastic packaging, and remove from the case their hard-won treasure. For these fans, a new Call of Duty game isn't just a game. It is an event.
And can you imagine how much CoD diehards are willing to pay for an advance copy of MW3? Over at Joystiq, Richard Mitchell has tracked down an eBay listing for the new Modern Warfare game – complete with K-Mart receipt – that tops a hundred bucks. (The list price is $59.99.) We did our own quick scan of eBay, and found a bunch of MW3 titles available for purchase, but the top bids were closer to eighty bucks.
For his part, Stephen Toulouse, the Xbox Live Director of Policy and Enforcement, took to Twitter to warn any gamers thinking about logging onto the MW3 multiplayer a little ahead of schedule. "[Double checked] with Activision," Toulouse tweeted. "Mw3 pre-release play not authorized. So pls be patient. Playing early may impact your account!"
Back in November of 2010, Call of Duty: Black Ops became the fastest-selling video – and most profitable entertainment product – of all time as Activision unloaded 7 million units in a day. Modern Warfare 3 sales may reach even higher.
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