Xbox users who started up their consoles this week may have encountered a prominent promotional ad for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III, marking the latest instance of Microsoft showcasing a significant title in a noticeable manner.
Notably, GameSpot editors and individuals on social media observed that when Xbox consoles were powered on, they were greeted not by the usual Home screen but by an advertisement promoting Modern Warfare III. This ad encouraged users to purchase the game from the store. This advertising strategy coincided with the November 2 launch of Modern Warfare III’s campaign, which was available as early access for pre-order customers.
While users could return to the Home screen by pressing the “Exit” button, many were surprised and displeased by the prominent advertisement for a game they may not have been interested in. Microsoft had previously executed a similar large-scale takeover ad campaign for Starfield back in September. It’s worth noting that the Modern Warfare III takeover ad even appeared for those who had already purchased the game.
According to reports from WindowsCentral, the Modern Warfare III ad is subject to age restrictions and does not appear if you are logged into an account for users under the age of 18. Modern Warfare III has received an “M” rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB).
Josh Munsee, the Xbox director of integrated marketing, reminded people on social media that a similar takeover ad had been used for Starfield, and he stated, “I understand the attention drawn by Call of Duty with our acquisition closing.”
It’s worth mentioning that Microsoft acquired the Call of Duty franchise as part of its $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. However, Modern Warfare III won’t be available on Game Pass until at least 2024. Furthermore, the game features PlayStation-exclusive content, likely due to a pre-existing contract between Activision and Sony that was in place before Microsoft finalized its acquisition.
With the release of Modern Warfare III’s campaign, it has been revealed that the game includes a significant mid-credits cutscene and a mission reminiscent of the controversial “No Russian” mission.