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Activision reveals Call of Duty subscription plans

Activision has denied it and denied it, but today it's been revealed - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 will feature an online service (that's what Call of Duty Elite is), complete with monthly subscription fees.

According to The Wall Street Journal which has the scoop, the industry-first move will apply to MW3 and "future installments" of the shooter.

Modern Warfare 3

Modern Warfare 3

It's not as bad as we once thought, however. You won't be paying for multiplayer, and you won't be paying to play the game itself. You will however, if you choose, be paying for extra content that isn't offered on game discs, and an assortment of map packs. We're not sure how this varies to traditional DLC, by the way. Parts of the service - such as online matchmaking - will be free.

But wait - that's not all! We can also anticipate tracking features that will analyse your in-game performance, in a toolset inspired by stock-trading websites.

At this stage, the exact fee hasn't been determined, but the company expects it to be somewhere in the $5/month range, intentionally priced lower than other, comparable online-entertainment services such as Netflix.

The company's Chief Executive, Bobby Kotick, has explained that he's not worried about "pushback" from consumers, because the game will still offer a bunch of fre online content. Call of Duty Elite will, however, provide services and offerings that would not be possible on a free operation, describing the move as an "enormous investment".

Modern Warfare 3, in blue

Modern Warfare 3, in blue

The move has also been described as "potentially risky", and is seen by the industry as a way for publisher Activision to milk further profits from consumers. That said, it's likely not the last time we see a subscription model like this - but only a few games have the audience loyalty and massive userbase to make it a success. When CoD Elite launches (presumably in November with MW3), all eyes will be on Activision.

UPDATE: Activision spokesperson Dan Amrich has tweeted:

COD Elite will be free to all COD players – paid aspects TBD, and as promised, no charge for MP. Many more details in the AM.

The story is also circulating that the WSJ story is factually inaccurate, while the games media are still stuck behind an agreed-upon embargo.


This story was featured in Episode 17, Season 2 of GamePron News:

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8 Responses to “Activision reveals Call of Duty subscription plans”

  1. Rich says:

    Industry First…Not really. Remember Hellgate: London? This has been tried and failed already. Good luck Kotick.

  2. [...] first heard inklings about it a few hours ago, but now Activision have confirmed that, yes, Call of Duty Elite is coming, and, [...]

  3. Name says:

    Well, CoD is officially dead to me.

  4. no no no says:

    Really Activision?

    You could have made MW3 into the ultimate game to date.

    1) Mix together the cooler aspects of Black Ops, MW2, Reach, Battlefield, etc..
    2) Add a handful more maps than other games.
    3) Add more customization, more backgrounds to unlock, more weapons
    4) Add difficult and rare backgrounds, tags etc.. Loads of them.
    5) Special Ops, Survival modes, co-op campaign, more game types.
    6) More custom player models.
    7) Robust COD ranking and achievement system, copying and expanding on what Halo Waypoint did, but adding it straight to the game itself rather than in a separate application.
    8) Keep the Black Ops theater mode, video sharing, all the social media linking content you can possibly think of.

    Basically chock that damn game so full of content, and expand all the unlockable types of easy to create content to 10 times what Black Ops and Reach has.. Really, with the amount of time people still put into Black Ops, and will up until the next biggest thing comes out, why try to force subscriptions?

    You want to bring MMO elements to COD? Fine, thats where everything is headed anyways. But we all see that Free To Play games are the future. Charge 60 dollars and come out with endless small addons for cheap money and you will easily get your 5 dollars a month extra from most people who are actively playing the game.

    There you go, 2 billion dollars in sales and the biggest game of all time.. Is it that difficult to figure out?

  5. Phil says:

    This made me laugh “At this stage, the exact fee hasn’t been determined, but the company expects it to be somewhere in the $5/month range, intentionally priced lower than other, comparable online-entertainment services such as Netflix.” Netflix compared to a game… instead of paying $15/dlc which amounts to about $45/year if we’re lucky and get 3 Dlc map pack year after release. we’ll be paying 60ish/year. basically away to weasel more money out of people. “But wait – that’s not all! We can also anticipate tracking features that will analyse your in-game performance, in a tool set inspired by stock-trading websites.” Am I the only one that doesn’t care about this feature. I mean whats the point?.
    That being said what happens when the next installment of Blops drops… Whats to keep me paying for a game that i no longer play. Im not going to keep a subscription going till the next Mw comes out. Doesn’t seem like much thought has been put into this.

  6. Tapper says:

    I love the Modern Warfare version of Call of Duty. Unfortunately, Activision’s latest greed-inspired step is forcing me to skip MW3. I’m sure I’m not the only one. They’re even so arrogant as to say they’re not worried about backlash from consumers. Hah! We’ll see.

  7. [...] GamePron News this week looks at the facts and fallacies surrounding Call of Duty: Elite – are we really expected to pay for the shooter? [...]

  8. [...] after a bit of a messy announcement, the beta version of Call of Duty Elite is live – on Xbox 360, anyway. Launched today and [...]

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