Pachter: How COD Online Fees Could Work

Big bold letters again: These are the views of an analyst and NOT of Activision, Sony, Microsoft or any other publisher.

Mr. Pachter has been predicting how Black Ops could be ‘monetised’. The good news is that gaming’s own Mystic Meg thinks that the online multi player portion of Black Ops will remain free. Hurrah! Instead, Pachter suggests Activision will start charging for other items,

“The premium services that we expect to be monetized are the sale of virtual goods, the opportunity to play in tournaments, the maintenance of achievements, the creation of ladders and leader boards, and access to value-added content.”

Nothing too worrying there unless you happen to like clan gaming as from that description you may have to pay to play. So far, not too bad, no one should be foaming at the mouth just yet…

Ah. TSA comment section going in to meltdown in 3…2…1…

“We are not sure which direction that monetization will take, but expect to hear about future plans for charging for premium services some time between this earnings cycle and early 2011.” continues Pachter,  “We think that scheduled releases like Call of Duty Black Ops, Medal of Honor and Halo Reach, and unscheduled releases like Grand Theft Auto 5 all will contain the opportunity for gamers to pay more to the publishers. While we don’t think that anyone will be compelled to pay for premium content, we think that it is highly likely that the content will be offered for a fee, and that as a result, fewer hours will be spent playing these games for free than has been spent on their prior versions.”

And now the really galling part..

“Charging for premium content is important for two reasons: first, it should drive higher revenues and profits for the publishers who charge; and second, it is likely that the creation of premium content will limit the number of hours spent playing multiplayer games for free, thereby disaggregating a large number of consumers who will likely begin purchasing packaged products again.”

In other words, Pachter thinks by charging gamers for ‘premium online content’ they will spend less time playing Call Of Duty, Halo or whatever and go and buy a new game instead. I don’t know about you but if that is intention I’d rather turn my console of and go and spend my money elsewhere. The idea of a company deliberately charging for content to try and stop us playing game we have already paid for is horrendous. Over to Mr. P. for the final word,

“As we said above, we do not think that charges for premium content will be mandatory, and we expect the publishers to continue to provide some form of online multiplayer for free. However, we think that the opportunity to charge something is too great to be overlooked by the publishers for much longer, and we expect to see Activision lead the way by creating a new system some time before the end of the year.”

Please remember these are the views of Pachter and investors, not of games companies and Pachter has been frequently wrong.

Source: MCV


  1. Sound business tactics there mr analyst

    Not really for customers consumption, and something that belongs in a boardroom but even the turning people off the franchise by charging is a good idea…

    It should actually please a lot of smaller developers who’s sales fall flatter than they should due to the enormous volumes of people playing CoD4,5&6 and Halo, which is reportedly a huge problem particularly on Xbox Live

  2. Could this herald in a new age of offline gaming..

    • long live LAN parties!!

    • God I hope so! !! Sick of dev’s focusing on online and not sp or local MP!

  3. Unless the price of the game itself (the Blu Ray disc) drops significantly, they can count me out. I’m not gonna pay over 100 Euro to play some COD. If they’d ever try that, I hope they fail miserably.

  4. Just occured to me – what would this mean for services such as OnLive. You pay for online game streaming from OnLive, the pay AGAIN to the games publishers to play online? God they must be crapping themselves..

    • I was looking at OnLive very optimistically. But also realisticly, I thought it was too good to be true. Just when things start getting good the hand of god swoops down to kill all the hopes.

      • The service is reportedly pretty good, especially when you think what it is, but there pricing is way off

  5. anything that comes out this blokes mouth I ignore. All I know is that I wont be paying for any online premium part of a game, unless the original RRP decreases dramatically.

    I can see this being tried by some game companies, but I can’t see it working. If it does, it’s the gamers own fault.

  6. I can never see this actually coming to light, partially because it would be so poorly tolerated but mainly because the online market is still strongest on the 360, and people aren’t going to pay to play a game online twice. And if the 360 doesn’t get it, then the PS3 won’t because it would make no sense to alienate your users towards a different console. Yet the analysts keep pushing for it!

  7. so pachter thinks it’s good business to drive your customers away?
    why do people still listen to this guy?
    hey better yet, just shut down the servers once the new version’s out?
    that way they’ll have to buy the new one to keep playing.
    but then no overpriced rehashed map packs and they only have to run matchmaking so that’s not a huge strain on the servers, not compared with actually hosting games which is all done by the users.
    i have never been a fan of pachter but i could respect him, despite his mistakes.
    but lately i’m starting to view him as a bit of a douchebag.
    no, make that a total douchebag.
    i might even bring out that video.
    aw, what the hell, always makes me laugh.

    • Do you type your replies in on an Etch-a-Sketch? 8-|

  8. I Agree 100% with Bilbo about Mr Pachter. I doubt very strongly that he has ever actually taken the time to speak to a gamer as he makes some absolutely crazy assumptions about what we’ll tolerate.

    If FPS’ (or any other genre for that matter) go crap due to deliberately constricted content then I’ll just be less likely to buy them in the first place.

    As to buying more games, I for one buy the number of games that I can afford to each year- I believe this to be very similar for the vast majority of core gamers. Restricting the content of any given title isn’t likely to increase this number, just turn me away from the initial purchase as I would no longer see those titles as representing value for money.

    • The problem with Patcher is that he’s a financial guy and speaks to other financial guys… because of what he’s talking about (gaming) it gets picked up by us as being unfair to gamers or greedy or whatever.

      Well, he wasn’t even talking to us in the first place, if he was he’d make the argument from the opposite side of the fence, but that’s not his job, it’s the job of the marketing guys to make whatever the financial wizzes in the boardroom come up with into a sell able product that we will like & buy into.

      Activision have repeated 100 times that Black Ops will not be subscription, so its more an argument for 2011

      • I understand what you say about Mr Pachter and his role and know that we weren’t the target audience for his comments. My arguement is that he’s just a long way wide of the mark with his analysis and forecasts a lot of the time due to a lack of proper understanding of the subject matter, or the customers – this occasion is no exception.

        I know black ops is not gonna be subs based and that this is a forecast for 2011/12 but my arguements still stand. Strip down your software and pay the pice at retail, is my belief.

        With the internet the way it is these days, I highly doubt that a devco or publisher could deliberately pursue this style of product without evidence of their intentions to do so (on any specific title) being leaked.

        It’ll be incredibly difficult for marketing guys to talk up a product on which, within a very small timescale indeed your going to have to stump up more readies or be faced with “Server is running content you don’t own” messages.

        I honestly think that there are a fair few of us on here, who could provide more accurate financial analysis and forecasting (you for a start) in this industry. Not only do you need to be intelligent and have an understanding of business and marketing etc, but I think gaming has a community and demographic quite unlike any other market, so insider knowledge and understanding is invaluable.

      • One upside I guess would be that there would have to be an incredible focus on the single player and offline potential of the basic package in order to entice potential customers – can’t see it being anything other than a serious problem for publishers otherwise.

  9. What planet is this guy on?
    Pachter, sounds like a total asshole IMO……….i bet he’s got loadsa friends then :D

  10. WTF does patcher drink to sprout this sort of bullshit? Sounds like something my relatives drink.

Comments are now closed for this post.