Posted on May 31 2011 by Nathanial Rumphol-Janc
Michael Pachter predicted this was coming, and frankly a lot of people laughed at him over it. Why would Activision charge money simply for people to play a game online, of which they are already paying a fee to Xbox Live and/or PSN to do so anyways? Well, turns out it’s not exactly required for online play, but it’s definitely a start in that direction.
Activision Blizzard Inc. plans to launch an online service called Call of Duty Elite this fall that will work with the next major edition of the game, “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3,” and future installments of the hyper-realistic combat-simulation game. In a move industry executives describe as a first, Activision plans to charge a monthly subscription fee for the service, which will provide extra content that isn’t offered on game discs sold in stores, including downloadable map packs that give players new “Call of Duty” levels to play.
That isn’t all the service provides.
Another feature of the service will give “Call of Duty” players tools, modeled on those from stock-trading websites, to analyze their performance within the game, gauging factors such as which weapons have been most successful for them in killing enemies.
In essence, the system is taking what was previously known as optional DLC content that required a one time fee, and connecting it to a constant monthly subscription model, and adding better statistical tracking on top. Is it really going to be worth the 6$ or so the subscription will cost? Unlikely to most gamers, but for the hardcore I could see them eating it up, especially if there are map packs coming out every month.
It’s really the first step in creating a complete online subscription model, as you would assume at some point Activision would try to require a small monthly fee to even play a Call of Duty game online. That’s an assumption of course, and has no backing other than business side logic. Still, it’s not happening yet, and for now it seems the days of one time payments for extra maps in Call of Duty are quickly ending.
The reason this matters for us is mostly because of Wii 2. With what we assume will be an actual online network, chances are Activision is going to port over their online systems used for the PSN and Xbox Live onto Wii 2, and thus games released for Nintendo’s console from 2012 and on will likely be featuring this subscription model (which, for now, is 100% optional). We’ll see how this plays out, but a lot of people saw this coming.
Source: The Wall Street Journal