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 Modern Warfare 2  Box Retains  Call Of Duty  Brand
Modern Warfare 2 Box Retains Call Of Duty Brand
July 9, 2009 | By Leigh Alexander

July 9, 2009 | By Leigh Alexander
More: Console/PC

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 games.

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 title.

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 brand.

"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.

[UPDATE: 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 series."

"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."]

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Bob Stevens
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'Modern Warfare 2 will apparently retain the "Call of Duty" brand in its title 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 games.'

I'm pretty sure this "plan" was never announced or alluded to by Activision and that the Internet just assumed it because people used the shorter name once or twice.

Fiore Iantosca
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I'm glad they will retain the CoD name. I think it will help their marketing and sales. People associate CoD with fun fun fun shooter.

Simon Carless
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Bob, it's an odd one, and Activision have commented obliquely on it, so I'll add that to the story. I would like to point out a recent press release which clearly omits the 'Call Of Duty' pre-title, though:

'Activision Publishing, Inc.'s (Nasdaq: ATVI) highly-anticipated Modern Warfare 2 and DJ Hero earned top honors as "Best Action Game" and "Best Social/Casual/Puzzle Game" by the Game Critics Awards: Best of E3 2009 at the annual E3 Expo, held earlier this month in Los Angeles.'

So maybe the box will say Call Of Duty, but everything else won't? Odd.

Adam Piotuch
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This is not news.

Amir Sharar
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It is news considering that many casual gamers didn't realize that Modern Warfare 2 meant the direct sequel to Call of Duty 4.

James Hofmann
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It is unusual for one game to get so much coverage.

Bob Stevens
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I don't ever recall seeing a story about Activision or IW saying "Yes, we dropped the Call of Duty in the title." I don't recall ever seeing any news sites asking Activision or IW for comment about the supposed name change or if this represented a new series altogether. These things may have happened, but I missed them.

What I do recall seeing is a few press releases with the shorter name, Mike Griffith referring to it as a Call of Duty game in an investor phone call, and a TON of speculation on various Internet forums. Now people believe that Activision "changed their mind" about the title as a result of the brand awareness survey or their own internal research or the direction of the wind, but there doesn't seem to be much evidence that there was ever an official plan to drop the CoD prefix. At least not enough justification to fuel most of the speculation that's been floating around. Press releases will /still/ probably call it MW2.

I've seen similar back and forth rumor and hearsay and speculation with respect to a Wii port of MW2... who knows how that one will turn out?

Bob Stevens
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OK I went and tracked the rumor down to its source, which was one of the magazine articles interviewing Infinity Ward. They didn't definitively state that the CoD prefix was dropped, but it was heavily implied... so perhaps there were some behind-the-scenes changes with the name.

Sean Davis
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So now IW has math problems as well. COD, COD2, COD3, COD4 MW, COD5 WAW and now we have COD MW2. No wonder our children are so screwed up.

David Delanty
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Makes perfect sense. I've always heard people call it CoD4 (and pronounce it as such, cod-four). Never did I hear anybody call it Modern Warfare by itself.

Figures that if the gamer populace calls it Call of Duty, its successor should be titled such as well.

Eric Gilbert
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"...COD4 MW, COD5 WAW and now we have COD MW2..."

Actually, they stopped the number in the CoD name with CoD WAW.

CoD4 MW -


So logic dictates the next in line is CoD WAW2? ;)