Call of Duty to get a subscription option

What is this I don’t even …?

News today is that Activision-Blizzard are planning on introducing a subscription option for CoD. This itself is not surprising as there have been rumours about it for months. But what is perhaps unexpected is that apparently this is going to take the form of an ‘elite’ social network  to which players can subscribe.

So the idea is that you pay your $60 or so for the main game, and then they’re going to try to sell you a subscription on top. It sounds as though some content (such as map packs) will be included, as well as being able to compare stats with other players and find people with similar interests (if ‘likes to play shooters’ isn’t similar interest enough).

But no, the surprise here is that they broke the story in the Wall Street Journal and not a gaming publication. That sends a message about who Activision really want to hear about this development. No doubt we’ll hear more at E3 next week. (And I guess, the other surprise is that they’ve decided subscriptions will make more money for them than expanding F2P options, so opposite to the way the MMO world has been trending. Wonder if they’ll offer a cash shop on top of this.)

So if you are a CoD player, how do you feel about this option? Better value than buying occasional map packs as DLC? What could they put in to make it tempting? And how much would you be prepared to pay per month/year?

And if you aren’t, don’t worry, chances are that if it’s popular, your favourite online multiplayer game will go this way too:

Rob Dyer, senior vice president of publisher relations at Sony’s U.S. games division, said only a few games have the audience loyalty and size to support a subscription service like Call of Duty Elite. Mr. Dyer said he is “very confident” other publishers will follow Activision’s lead. “There’s money to be made there,” he said.

And a video trailer for the new service has also been leaked in advance of E3. I wonder if CoD counts as an MMO yet …

15 thoughts on “Call of Duty to get a subscription option

    • Well, yeah. That reminds me though of the other thing I was going to say — does anyone still think that Diablo 3 will not have a subscription option?

      • I’m not sure about subscriptions, but a cash shop is a fairly safe bet. After all, Blizzard did provide Battle.Net multiplayer for Diablo 2 and Starcraft for free, and continues to do so for Starcraft 2.

      • I can see D3 having a cash shop as well. Lots of little things-and I can actually see them offering sort of ‘art packs’ for new skins for the characters. (This is something I’d actually buy; i’m not real big on some of the character designs in D3-well except the badass Witch Doctor-but I don’t want to all be playing the same copypasta character if I play multiplayer and we all like the same class.) And as people that like to request new character skins aren’t uncommon(see how many people want upgraded models in WoW), I can imagine I wouldn’t be the only one buying something like that.

        Not sure about a D3 subscription, but yeah-cash shop seems like it would be something they’d do.

        Of course, the CoD thing, yeah I knew it was sooner than later. I’m not a fan of the game, but I wonder how a few of my buddies who are friends are going to take this.

      • I’m hoping Blizzard will go the same route they did with SC2 – no sub.

        If there is a sub for D3 then I won’t be buying it. It’s a mindless hack and slash-fest and I’ve little desire to play it on BNet.

  1. After my experience with modern warfare 2, I’ve not bought a COD game, I think this just give me more reasons to stay away.

    After reading about what has been offered as part of this “Elite package”.
    It doesn’t sound very appealing especially if you are the XBOB player with that Gold Sub.

    I can’t say I know many people that will jump at the chance to have access to some extra graph based bragging rights over your friends, or map packs that could be purchased individually.

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  3. I’ll put on my shallow-hat and say, that the leaked trailer for the service kindda got me interesting in fps again. So that part of it sure worked. As to whether or not I’d pay for those extra features… only if it allowed me to play on my xbox with pals on ps3

  4. If DICE and EA are smart (and, you know, I’m not sure I’d bet on that) now would be a prime moment to say “hey, Battlefield 3 won’t cost you $60 dollars, won’t have a sub fee and won’t be made by the shadow of a once-great dev.”

    I mean, I’ll be buying Battlefield 3 over COD anyway, but it’d be fantastic if they used this to their advantage, and not just copy them.

    Still, methinks Starcraft 2 and Titan will be the last purchases I’ll be making to feed Cap’n Kotick’s (already ridiculously oversized, overstuffed) wallet. I actually can’t think of anything else I’ve bought from them in the last few years.

  5. Very telling to hear an SVP saying that ‘There’s money to be made there’. FPS rake in enough from players as it is but if a sub guarantees dedicated servers and ALL DLC then fair enough. But who would pay a sub to a smaller company that was less dedicated in maintaining their products online after ship date?

  6. These guys are idiots.

    Global Agenda attempted to release with a subscription base promising more updates and content, maps, etc. That was so awesome for them that they dropped it and went F2P(ish).

    APB – have people forgotten this already? There is a reason for that.


  7. 1. This sounds like a really awful, awful idea in the universe of XBL and Steam.

    2. CoD already includes a lot of mmo style design in it. Including it’s character customisation system.

    Which is, weirdly, probably the best mmo skill point style set up on any MMO at the moment despite not actually being in an MMO and the fact that new games aren’t emulating it makes me a little sad.

  8. It was good while it lasted but we have been getting good deals.

    £9 per month for a sub game, free online play for non sub games.

    Fortunately if you don’t mind not playing triple A there will always now be free or bargain games to play but the top games staying at £9 per month? It couldn’t last.

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