Activision unveils 'Call of Duty Elite' subscription service

By on May 31, 2011, 9:22 AM

Late last year rumors emerged suggesting that Activision might implement a subscription model for Call of Duty online multiplayer. Although the company was quick to tell customers it would "never, ever charge" for multiplayer, it didn't outright deny the possibility of a premium service tier for extra content and features not found on the retail game disc. And that's just what the company has revealed today, under the moniker Call of Duty Elite.

Launching in beta this summer, the new service will work with the upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, as well as future installments of the combat-simulation game. Activision says it hasn't yet figured out how much to charge for the service, but it has been suggested the price will be below $7.99. Players will get to access a sample set of features for free, such as the ability to join interest groups and team up with like-minded players for online battles, while those who pay the monthly fee get additional features including access to map packs and other perks.

Besides the usual leaderboards and other statistics, Call of Duty Elite will also provide users with tools to analyze their performance within the game, keeping track of which weapons have been most successful for them in killing enemies, or showing a blueprint of a level with heat map information about where they killed and got killed. Additionally, users will be able to log into the service on Apple's iOS portable devices and Activision says that an Android app is on the way.

The company will likely continue offering map packs and other digital content for one-time charges, but as rumored months ago, the move will give Activision Blizzard an additional way to capitalize on its millions of Call of Duty players. More details are expected to emerge next week at E3.

User Comments: 30

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Guest said:

Doesn't Black Ops already do this in-game stuff for free? If you watch a match in the replay theater it shows points on the map where you died and the enemy died. You can check your stats on individual guns to see which you do best with. Seems kinda odd to offer stuff like that at a premium when we already have it.

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Some people might want this. I haven't bought Blackops - I did buy MW2 and the dlc when they were on a steam sale but the levels are too small and the game is nowhere near as cool as BC2 for me.

Activision stand a good chance of ruining what is left of this IP like they did with Guitar Hero.

Guest said:

Ok Activision, you've officially lost me as a customer. Will never buy COD again

PaulWuzHere PaulWuzHere said:

I miss CoD: United Offensive and CoD 2. Hell, CoD 4 was good. Thanks for ruining one of my favorite shooters with remote control bomb rc cars and helicopters activision. If it weren't for Blizzard I would never touch another one of the "games"

Guest said:

From now on:

- Every game will require you to be online to play, whatever the reason (LIVE, Steam or any other gaming network you know);

- The game will not be sold to you, it will be licensed to play. You're not going to be the owner anymore (iRacing does that); Hardcopies of special or collector's editions will sell as high as 250+ bucks; you'll buy the merchandise that comes along, not the game;

- The majority of the games will use a web browser as platform (iRacing does already);

- Never, ever believe what game studios say; specially an extreme greed as Activision. They always change the rules of the game.

And there will be a lot of players that will pay to play CoD. And Activision will make millions of that.

Bought MW2 and the map packs. Never will do it again.

Not a surprise for me.

Jos Jos said:

Just to clarify, online multiplayer will continue to be free, this is an optional service so technically Activision didn't lie about that part. Some of it sounds like it may overlap with features already available for free (leaderboards, stats), though, so perhaps at E3 they'll share more information about exactly what will be made available for free and what's available exclusively to paying subscribers.

yRaz yRaz said:

Yay, the long awaited end to CoD. Last good cod was world at war, and I still think #2 was the best. The games aren't worth $60 and now they want us to pay monthly to have access to dlc? They have planted the seeds of their own destruction and I patiently await the end of CoD

Guest said:

This completely ridiculous, we already get those heat maps and such features free, and it is not worth it to pay monthly for that. However I would not mind if COD: Elite allowed us to play on dedicated servers, because this bull**** with missed hitmarkers due to delay, will probably force me to pay extra for the elite to have perfect connection (however paying for Xbox live should do that for us already). But for the features they listed, it sounds like a complete ripoff.

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

I dont care about all the extra BS. I just want to go in there with any weapon and shoot imaginary soldiers.... so, i dont care about prestige, or really even the replay. I've saved a few because I got some crazy killstreaks with ballistic knife or whatnot... but this isnt required and wont push me to pay extra. I bought the recent map packs, kinda regret considering I always play Nuketown.

yRaz yRaz said:

Guest said:

However I would not mind if COD: Elite allowed us to play on dedicated servers, because this bull**** with missed hitmarkers due to delay, will probably force me to pay extra for the elite to have perfect connection (however paying for Xbox live should do that for us already). But for the features they listed, it sounds like a complete ripoff.

You would PAY for dedicated servers? Hell PC has had them forever and you don't have to pay monthy for Live....Not to mention better gameplay and graphics on PC. Did I mention online play was free?

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I buy all my games on steam except fifa on the xbox and the occasional massive exclusive so I cannot sell my games on anyway.

A question is whether this is a gateway to offering different services to people paying a subscription such as better policed servers etc in a couple of years time. Activision want to make more money and see Call of Duty as their best chance of making WoW subscription amounts of cash whether or not the game type would work with it.

Its about time Planetside 2 came out and showed everyone how to make a subscription based FPS again.

HaMsTeYr HaMsTeYr said:

As long as its not "compulsory" then it doesn't bother me as much. MW3 is below consideration for purchase from me though. We'll see.

And again, more FYI on this, Activision, for the most part, is not a developer in all of this. They're the publishers.

Look up Call of Duty and you'll see that Activision themselves have nothing much to do with the development of the game. They financially back IW & Treyarch and for the most part they're the people who set the prices or unveil these ridiculous things at times.... though not always.

Its mostly the publishers which come up with stupid ideas, which if the devs don't cave into, their projects get canned and loses funding by the publishers.

jetkami said:

Pretty soon you will have to buy virtual ammo!

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

jetkami said:

Pretty soon you will have to buy virtual ammo!

At least it might stop the spray and pray gameplay in COD..

HaMsTeYr HaMsTeYr said:

For those interested, an interesting game trailer video


zillion said:

...The limit for me is about to be crossed, i dont mind companys to sell stuff and useless crap for real currency as long as it has no real impact on the ingame balance, but if the premium service will offer better perks and even better guns etc...... it will be the end of cod for me, and i see myself as a very big fan of the cod franchise, but if that part come true i have no reasson to keep playing cod (would only be to pwnd those suckers that paid the premium just to be mocked by better player)

wcbert said:

Next games will be Chess. You play online for free but for a subscription you get a King and Queen.

I think the future there will be games developed with two goals. There will be basic stuff in the game and the extra (the real parts of the game) that you have to pay for. Then you invest your time into the game to get all the googies they are selling. Some time in the future the company that makes the games says they are not going to support it and where does that leave you?

Remember the old days when you got a demo of a game for free and it came with two levels to play. Buy the game and you get everything. New model is you will buying the game (subscriptions) every month waiting for the day they say they are not making enough money to support the game and will soon shut it down.


pcnthuziast said:

If this succeeds and changes the game so to speak I won't blame Activision, I'll blame the millions of sheep that line their pockets and fuel this nonsense.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I can see what Activision is doing. Believe it or not, there is a market for this, and people will give in. I don't necessarily blame them for taking advantage of that (on the business side of things), but just them doing this, sort of, disgusts me. It's like they've become so money-hungry, they've forgotten their own franchise. MW3 will just be MW2 with a few new guns and and a different 4-5 hour cutscene, and while I'm not necessarily complaining as I know people seem to like that, it just makes me realize they don't put time and effort into making a good game anymore.

The formula has gone from how to make a great game, to how to make the most money. It's already sad to see a generation that strays from quality, to quantity. But it's even more saddening seeing a company so vehement at taking advantage of that very fact...

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I guess as games become more realistic, the non combat aspects of warfare are getting introduced too. Soon we'll be paying by the bullet.

Zen Zen, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Well with this recent information, this makes me glad I stopped buying "Call of Duty" games, my last one being Call of Duty 4 or Call of Duty (Modern Warfare). By these implementations, it is going to totally change the Call of Duty terrain. Now when Modern Warfare implemented (perks) and (ranks) which influenced which kind of weapon you could use, what special ability one could have, I was fine with that, took some getting used to, but I was fine with it all the same. I'm a 100% supporter of "fair play", I believe that everyone should have equal opportunity when it comes to on-line video game play.

Now they want to segregate those who might not be able to afford the "Elite" package, to those that can. The people who can afford this get extra, and the people who can't afford it get stuck with "stock" and or "out of the box" stuff only, that just does not seem fair! Again I don't mind earning your weapons and abilities in a game, but to have to play extra for things is just fricking lame!

treetops treetops said:

Looks like blizzard has rubbed off on them.

Zecias said:

shouldn't be blaming the publishers/developers, blame the ***** consumers for paying for crap like this.

Guest said:

I wonder why Apple and Activision haven't joined hands yet. they will make a hell of a duo and they can share the knowledge how to suck hard earned money from people.

Guest said:

All i have to say is milk, milk, milk your boat gently down the stream!!!

Guest said:

COD really is a terrible game, I don't understand how it's so popular. Battlefield destroys it tenfold.

Guest said:

I swear ive been a gamer for years never paid one dime for xtra content of any form in any game. My question is where does this mentality come from to keep feeding these companies money for little to nothing and its cool to do so.....crazy.

Guest said:

yRaz "You would PAY for dedicated servers? Hell PC has had them forever and you don't have to pay monthy for Live....Not to mention better gameplay and graphics on PC. Did I mention online play was free?"

Most PC games with dedicated servers are actually users paying to run their own dedicated server. Just because you play on the server for free doesn't mean it's actually free, the owner just made it publicly accessible.

Most popular provider (for individuals) that comes to mind would be:

To see an example of what it costs, select a 100 Tick (fastest) Counter Strike Source server, then put say 24 slots (for 12 on 12), and you're at $35 a month. Now consider how many people are online at any given moment, so there has to be like 40,000+ dedicated servers... Of course they would run the servers themselves... but it still would work out to a lot of money that they could otherwise avoid.. and people STILL buy the game.

If they're charging every user per month for dedicated servers, doing the math, they shouldn't charge more than a dollar or two per user (per month). I'd happily pay $20 a year for access to dedicated servers. But we're talking about greedy bastards here... so you can only expect them to over charge by at least 500%.

ramonsterns said:

I seriously hope this game flops.

If it doesn't, gaming as we know it is dead.

r3claimer r3claimer said:

I think people are being a bit overly dramatic here. You can whine about how bad the game is forever, but all you have to do is not buy it. Sure the franchise isn't what it used to be, but the same is said for all franchises. I still log on and play CoD:UO because its gameplay is unique. Find a different game or play the old one. Complaining about the issue does very little, especially since most people that post on here that Activision and Blizzard are terribly corrupt companies will go ahead and buy the game contradictorily. If Activision and Blizzard can make more money, they're going to do what it takes. Obviously most the people complaining about how these companies are "Money grubbing" have never actually held a job before. When your actions directly affect your standard of living, come back and complain then.

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