Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg has given the company's first public reaction to last week's massive Modern Warfare 3 leak, explaining how the firm has attempted to turn a negative situation into a positive one.
"... While it's definitely not cool to steal other people's intellectual property, and while it's definitely not cool to leak stuff that's not yours, there are ways that you can respond that actually turn the lemons into lemonade," he told Joystiq. "And that's what we tried to do on Friday."
Hirshberg said the source of the information - who is still at large - "clearly had deep access" to the game, but claimed "not everything that was leaked is accurate".
In the days following it, Infinity Ward fired out the first teaser trailers for the game, which hadn't been due to be released for a couple of weeks. Hirshberg said Activision made the decision after trying to "see through the lens of our fans", who were excited by the news.
"We woke up with a marketing crisis and wanted to go to bed with a marketing win," he said. "We reached out to our fans and we said, 'Look, we didn't schedule this. This wasn't something we had planned. But everyone seems excited, so we're just going to roll with it."
According to Activision, the teaser videos released were viewed over three million times in 48 hours. The first teasers for Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops - released according to schedule -- attracted 61,000 and 89,000 views in their first two days of availability.
"So if you add those two numbers together, and take the sum and multiply it by 20 times, you'd have what we generated with these four teaser videos," Hirshberg said. "So I think we managed to turn a crisis into an opportunity.
"... If there's going to be a dialogue about our game, we want it to be between us and our fans and not between the leakers and our fans. You don't want to spoil the surprises that the game has to offer. Leaks are not positive things, even though we might have used it as a way to amplify our initial viewership."
Modern Warfare 3 has already seen strong pre-orders on Amazon.