Apparently not content with releasing a new Call of Duty game on a 12 month cycle, almost guaranteed to bring in billions of Dollars a year, Activision Blizzard will be launching a new paid-for subscription add-on for the mega-bucks franchise, according to the WSJ.
The new subscription, dubbed Call of Duty Elite will offer new multiplayer options such as new maps, increased statistic tracking and other social networking enhancements. Activision clearly knows its games are at their most popular amongst the online multiplayer contingent and will hope to offer them enough unique content to warrant the extra monthly fee. Remember, players using Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console will already be stumping up $9.99 per month for the privilege of online play – will a fee on top of that be deemed a step too far? Obviously PC and PlayStation 3 players currently get their COD multiplayer for free, at least for now.
While Activision isn’t yet sure how much they will be charging for this improved Call of Duty experience, the company is said to be aiming for a price point lower than that of current online entertainment packages such as Netflix, with currently offers its services for $7.99 per month. The comparison with TV and movie services may seem a little odd at first, until you realize just how much money the COD franchise is worth.
"It’s probably the biggest entertainment franchise in the world," said Dennis Durkin, corporate vice president in Microsoft’s interactive-entertainment business.
Activision Blizzard aren’t exactly new to the idea of charging a monthly subscription for its games. The company’s World of Warcraft online RPG currently rakes in huge fees from its players, who each pay around $15 each month to enjoy the massive online world housed on servers across the globe. While World of Warcraft doesn’t have a free element however, Call of Duty does. The question is whether enough people will pony up the cash to make Call of Duty Elite a viable business, though the COD online community is known to be one of the most fanatical of them all and we doubt Activision will struggle finding people to join. Previous premium map packs and addition weapons have proven huge sellers in the past and we see no reason why those who live their lives inside Call of Duty’s online world wouldn’t want to be part of Elite.
The first game to feature the new subscription model will be Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, due for release worldwide on November 8th across multiple platforms.