Modern Warfare 2
will apparently retain the "Call of Duty
" brand on its box after all, in a last-minute reversal of Activision's plan to distinguish Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare
franchise as separate from the numbered Call of Duty
Via Twitter, Infinity Ward community manager Robert Bowling revealed the "first" copies of the game's box
in a photo that showed the Call of Duty
moniker positioned, albeit not with particular emphasis, above the Modern Warfare 2
It's likely that consumer brand awareness fears stayed the company's hand at the last. The title was first introduced with the Call of Duty
branding still attached to its name, although by the time of the game's widely publicized and highly acclaimed E3 appearance, it had been billed as only Modern Warfare 2
for some time.
A study released in mid-June from research firm OTX, however, had found consumer awareness of the title dropped 20 percent
since Activision disassociated it from the Call of Duty
"The Call of Duty
brand association essentially doubles the awareness for the game," said OTX at the time. "That is quite a remarkable statistic."
Activision has set a high bar for how it expects Modern Warfare 2
to perform, publicly promising
"the biggest entertainment launch of all time." Analysts like Janco Partners' Mike Hickey have supported that assertion, projecting the biggest launch of 2009
with a predicted 11.1 million units for Activision's fourth quarter alone.
The company may have ultimately decided that an untested box branding initiative with the bar set so high was too great a risk to take, as investors would have likely punished the stock had sales of the game failed to meet projections.
: An official Activision spokesperson's comment to weblog Kotaku
explains the box titling for the game as follows: "Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare 2
is the direct sequel to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
... We have focused our attention on Modern Warfare in order to most effectively communicate the fact that this is the first true sequel in the Call of Duty
"Infinity Ward, the original creators of the Call of Duty
franchise, has said from the beginning Modern Warfare 2
resides in the Call of Duty
universe. This is reflected in the title's package."]