Sunday, June 12, 2011

Activision launches Call of Duty : Elite

Activision’s plans for a subscription-based premium service/content for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 has drawn its fair share of fire. It’s one thing to offer maps and other content as purchasable DLC, but the Call of Duty: Elite (CODE) plan will have players pay a subscription fee for additional features above and beyond what has come before.
Activision says that they need to be closer to the launch of the game to discuss what specific features will be included with CODE, but they did mention that there will be a host of services available to members for free. The service will have multiple payment plans based on which features you want to access, and some of those features will be open to all players. It’s widely expected that at least some one of the features will be early access to maps and other DLC.

The idea of paying a subscription to access additional content and services doesn’t sit well with all gamers. It also doesn’t sit well with game developers, like Blacklight: Retribution lead designer Jared Gerritzen of Zombie Games. He labeled Activision’s move an example of “milking” the franchise’s fans for a regular revenue stream.
Gerritzen conceded that the games are amazing, but he questioned whether or not Activision has really done anything innovative with their past few Call of Duty titles. He said that it was “sad,” and “really weird,” and expressed that Activision was doing its fans a disservice by raking in the cash without really improving or re-investing the money into making the games better.


For their part, Activision says they’re not taking anything away from the Call of Duty experience by making CODE a subscription service, and in fact gamers will get new features they wouldn’t have otherwise enjoyed by paying for them on a regular basis. Core features like solo campaigns and multi-player competitive play will still be included with the game. However, Gerritzen’s sentiment has been echoed by a number of gamers, who feel Activision is essentially charging for a social network and the promise of future game content, instead of charging for map packs and stand-alone DLC when it’s ready.
Elite will also have online features such as leaderboards and stats that seem to be on par with Bungie‘s online Halo leaderboards and stat tracker.  There will also be a feature where users can meet together online and play together,
Activision CEO Bobby Kotick said, “This is an enormous investment” regarding the route that it appears the Call of Duty franchise and fans might taking.

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