‘Call of Duty: Black Ops III’ Digital Pre-Order Pulled After Terrorist Attack Marketing Stunt

Call of Duty: Black Ops III has been named as the most anticipated game of the year by numerous sources. It’s also now been named the most unexpectedly-missing game of the year, as Forbes reports that digital pre-orders for Call of Duty: Black Ops III have disappeared from the Xbox Live store, and GamePur has followed up with a note that Black Ops III has also gone missing from Amazon. To the best of our knowledge, Black Ops III is still available for pre-order on PSN, and as of the time of this writing is still listed on Steam.

There is some speculation that this may have to do with Sony’s relatively recent deal for DLC-exclusivity over Call of Duty: Black Ops III. According to Gamespot, Microsoft and Xbox have had first call on Call of Duty DLC historically; that is to say, all Call of Duty DLC launched on Microsoft platforms first, before eventually reaching others. This time around, however, Sony managed to snatch that away, partnering with Activision to bring Call of Duty DLC to PlayStation 4 first and foremost. Sony even trotted out Group CEO Andrew House at E3 to declare that, as he sees it, PlayStation 4 is the new home of Call of Duty, and he indicated that the deal would be continuing beyond Black Ops III.

'Call of Duty: Black Ops III' Digital Pre-Order Pulled After Terrorist Attack Marketing Stunt [Image courtesy treyarch/Activision]Amazon and Microsoft, however, are attempting to put the kibosh on this rumor. GamePur reports that, according to Microsoft, they are working with Activision to bring Black Ops III back to the Xbox store and that this had nothing to do with any commercial partnerships that they or Activision had made. Meanwhile, WCCTech is reporting similar from Amazon; they’ve indicated that, while not an error, Activision is responsible for pulling the pre-order. Perhaps more interestingly, WCCTech is also reporting that retailer Game has pulled the Digital Deluxe and Season Passes for Black Ops III. For Xbox only. All three options are still available for the PS4.

'Call of Duty: Black Ops III' Digital Pre-Order Pulled After Terrorist Attack Marketing Stunt [Image courtesy treyarch/Activision]Microsoft in particular has been swift to deny that this has anything to do with the DLC deal, but something certainly seems a little off here; the PS4 version of Black Ops III hasn’t been affected at all. Mind, neither has the Steam (PC) edition of the game; standard, Digital Deluxe and Season Pass pre-orders are all available from the PC distribution platform. That said, Microsoft has been extremely cagey about the situation, according to Forbes.

“We do not comment on the specific terms of our arrangements with any our publishing partners, however we are actively engaged with Activision to return Call of Duty: Black Ops III to the Xbox Store. In the meantime, fans can pre-order Call of Duty: Black Ops III for Xbox One or Xbox 360 from any of a host of retail partners here.”

Activision, on the other hand, are adamant that they did not make the decision to remove the game, in spite of Amazon’s statement to the contrary.

Activision did not remove the digital version of Call of Duty: Black Ops III from the Xbox Games Store. Black Ops III is ready for launch on November 6th and is the most anticipated game of the year. Black Ops III is available for pre-order or pre-purchase through our other retail partners worldwide.

While the whole situation seems a little fishy, several other thoughts occur. One is that this may be the result of Activision’s recent marketing stunt; as The Inquisitr reported, Activision decided to promote Black Ops III with a very realistic-seeming but fictitious live tweet of a terrorist attack in Singapore, something several games journalists took exception to. It may be that some retailers are looking for an acknowledgement of wrongdoing before continuing to sell the product.

Another possibility is that this has something to do with Activision’s announcement of a new esports world league for the Call of Duty franchise, upon which The Inquisitr has also reported. While Steam, at least, has a solid history of supporting esports, Microsoft’s position on esports action in non-Microsoft titles is relatively unknown.

Whatever the reasons may be, hopefully retailers have the details sorted out before Call of Duty: Black Ops III‘s November 6 launch.

[Images courtesy treyarch/Activision]