Watch Dogs PR stunt causes Ninemsn office evacuation

Watch Dogs A copy of the hacker-themed game was sent to Ninemsn to mark the title's launch

Related Stories

Watch Dogs' publisher has apologised after a publicity stunt for the video game backfired, causing an office evacuation and the deployment of an Australian bomb squad.

Ubisoft had sent a copy of the game inside a safe that beeped when staff at news site Ninemsn tried to open it.

The Sydney-based journalists became concerned when they called other newsrooms and found none had received a similar delivery.

The site does not cover video games.

After the firm called the authorities, a police rescue unit and four police cars were sent to the office on Australia Square, in the city centre.

Staff working on the floor to which the safe had been delivered were sent home early, while officers first scanned the metal box and then took it to the building's basement to force it open.

Ninemsn - which is part-owned by Microsoft - condemned the idea, calling it "misconceived".

"There was a bunch of reasons this ended up looking weird," said its publisher Hal Crawford.

"The PR company no doubt got carried away with their creativity and ended up sending us something the bomb squad had to open up."

France-based Ubisoft later said it had taken precautions to avoid a similar situation in the future.

"As part of a themed promotion for Watch Dogs, our team in Australia sent voicemail messages to some local media alerting them that they'd receive a special package related to the game," it said in a statement.

"Unfortunately, the delivery to Ninemsn didn't go as planned, and we unreservedly apologise to Ninemsn's staff for the mistake and for any problems caused as a result."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Technology stories


Features & Analysis

BBC Future

(Science Photo Library)

Nasa’s amazing airport simulator

How to train 21st Century controllers


  • A robotClick Watch

    The latest in robotics including software that can design electronics to solve problems

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.