Activision Publishing was "lucky" that last week's Modern Warfare 3data leak was so close to the game's planned announcement, CEO Eric Hirshberg wrote in an alleged internal email.
"We had a number of assets that had not yet been released, but were ready to go," he explained a memo (obtained by Giant Bomb) full of statements similar to those he said in an interview this week.
"When it came to light that we had suffered a significant security breach, it became clear that a leak of this size had the potential to throw our launch off of its schedule, or worse, blunt its momentum," he said. "As a company, we needed to look both backwards and forwards simultaneously. Of course we needed to immediately begin finding the source of the leak. But we also needed to deal with the fact that, like it or not, our launch had just begun."
According to Hirshberg, his team met that morning to discuss strategy, which ultimately led to the company formally announcing the game and beginning its pre-order program earlier than expected.
"Instead of panicking, we took the fire of interest that had been started by the leak, and poured gasoline on it," he wrote. In addition to its Facebook, YouTube and Twitter campaigns, the company's "worldwide sales organizations managed to put both the retail and .com presale programs and assets into launch mode in no-time flat. Everybody involved delivered under pressure."
As previously discussed, the hype and momentum started by the leak became a good marketing opportunity for the company: the YouTube videos it released the day of the leak generated significantly more views in their first 48 hours than similar campaigns for Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops combined.
"Very few companies could have woken up with a crisis of this magnitude, and gone to bed with an undeniable win," he said. "Everyone should be extremely proud. We’ve got a long way to go. But under very challenging circumstances, we managed to get our launch off to an incredible start."