WSJ: Call Of Duty Set For Monthly Fees, Elite Service

The Wall Street Journal is running with a story this morning that claims the Call of Duty series of hugely popular first person shooters will see a monthly subscription rate – dubbed “Call of Duty Elite” – starting with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

The publisher, according to the website, plans to launch the online service to run alongside all of the series from this point in.  The monthly subscription fee for the service will “provide extra content that isn’t offered on game discs sold in stores” it says, “including downloadable map packs that give players new levels to play.”

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Although there’s no price set yet, some expect the service to cost less $7.99, although there will be some free features, such as the ability to “meet for online gun battles with others who share various affiliations and interests.”  To clarify: the actual online gaming will still be included in the price of the game – there is no monthly fee to just play.

The WSJ reports that the Elite fee will focus on extras, such as tools to analyse player performance.

“Call of Duty is in a unique position to seek a monthly fee from customers,” says the site. “The game’s previous installment, set during the Cold War and called Call of Duty: Black Ops, was the best-selling game last year, with global retail sales of more than $1 billion during its first six weeks on shelves.”

More details are expected today, including what the Elite subscription will get you, and hopefully confirmation on pricing.

Source: WSJ, via GAF.


Update: MCV has detailed the service (from ShopToNews):

Career: Detailed player stats (kill to death ratio, time spent, favourite weapons, loadouts, level, saved screenshots and videos, personal bests, etc). Players can view results from recent matches, via timeline and map showing every kill and death (including location of killer/victim). Can compare directly with other players by searching for their gamertag.

Connect: Join groups based on interest. For example, search for ‘photography’ and you are automatically entered into a group with other players have the same interest. If the group doesn’t exist, Elite automatically creates it. You can then access Career stats for group members. Can also browse theatre mode and videos. Looking through most liked, most viewed, staff picks, most recent or any videos you are tagged in. MW3 will introduce clan support.

Compete: Regular events and competitions set up by developers, e.g. highest kill streak, screenshot or video competitions, etc. Prizes range from special emblems for your profile to COD merchandise, an iPad 2 and a Jeep Cherokee. MW3 will introduce group vs group competitions, clan vs clan, intra-clan competition and leagues.

Improve: Detailed information on every weapon, perk and map in the game, including tips, stats and video guides from pros. Maps show objective locations for different types of multiplayer mode. Shows more player stats (e.g. how many times people have used each kill streak bonus). After MW3, Elite will call on entire Call of Duty community to provide expertise and guidance.


Update 2: MCV has removed their post.


Update 3: A video has appeared (from ShopToNews):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ceq_RKaFZU

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53 Comments

  1. $7.99 a month, isn’t that a little much, these games already sell like hot cakes and now they want $7.99 more a month, can’t see this going down well to be honest considering, from my point of view’ which may not be worth much as I’m not much of an FPS gamer, that they don’t change a lot, why would people pay this when they can just stick with MW2 or BO?

    • I suppose it depends what they give you for it though, I meant to include that above!

      • Its like Bungie Pro. You get extra theatre features, clan support and are able to upload your videos and analyse them. You also get all future dlc ‘free’ but obviously you’re paying for it in the sub.

      • That would be $95.88! Which I’m guessing is about £60-70. I think that I would be one of the many that wouldn’t pay for that. In my opinion, they should just keep it to DLC’s.

      • The only time i’ll ever pay is if they get rid of lag 100% by giving us dedicated servers.

      • Dedicated servers will never happen – that would give people a reason not to buy the latest version each year.

  2. They don’t need more money, just give us the features and develop the franchise – stop money grabbing.

    • They always need more money, it’s business. Shareholders and investors demand bigger and bigger profits each year. I understand your frustration an in the main agree with your comment, but you have to look at this from a CEO’s POV.

      • I guess your right. But, it’s $7.99/month and for 12 months thats $95.88. and the game is $59.99 new, add these up and for one year that’s $155.87. Thats a hell of a lot of money, even if you do convert it to the real money of pounds.. For me it’s too much, but I guess that just means I won’t be buying it.

  3. For the people that play nothing but COD this might be an attractive proposition, depending on the perks. They have to be careful not to unbalance the game though, driving off casual players who don’t want to subscribe.

  4. I have no problem with this, in fact it seems like quote a good model they’re going for. There’s plenty of cod nuts out there who will pay this, but for me, and millions like me who just enjoy the odd game, you can still play. And by the sounds of it, the elite aren’t going to get an unfair advantage against the rest of us in battle.

  5. And at last the downfall of COD starts.

    … most people i know already are starting to not buy the map-packs because they’re getting pricey, and if they do they’ll go half and half with friends and buy them off other peoples accounts. I doubt many, if any, of them at least will buy a subscription like this.

    And i hope this trend doesn’t continue into other games, im not a fps fan so this wont affect me, but if every dev starts doing it it’s going to be even more pricey entertainment.

    • Map packs are consistently the record breaking dlc sales, each one goes on to beat the previous record set by the previous CoD

      Whilst its obvious the map pack is at the upper end of acceptable, it surely still is acceptable else people wouldn’t buy it in such high volumes & sales would just drop to the committed ‘core’

      • That’t probably because so many people buy the game. I wonder if the percentage of players who buy them increases or not.

  6. This smacks of greed. COD already sells like its the secret of eternal youth or something despite being, imo, rather stale now.
    I wouldn’t mind so much if it felt like the profits go some way to driving innovative new game development but it really doesn’t.

    • I have to agree totally with you here. COD sells far too well for what it is and now they ask for more? Considering the multiplayer has only changed in terms of map designs and weapons for online from COD4 (apart from the killstreaks) and the story, if anything has got shorter, then I just don’t get the attraction. This is a strange and daft idea.

  7. maybe hardcore players will support this, but I reckon most players won’t want to pay, especially the psn users who don’t pay anything anyway

  8. If this works, then fair play to the publishers for making the most of a popular product. Consumers might complain, but not paying isn’t breaking the product and rendering it unusable, according to the report it’s not necessary to pay just to play online. Whether this pays for server upkeep or the MD’s yacht, it’s a canny move.

  9. I’ll definitely be giving this a look when its officially announced, however it would be wholly based on what benefits are available but also how good MW3 is online.
    I would be lying if I didn’t admit I’m a bit worried about how MW3 is going to play online, seeing as IW lost about 70% of its staff. I’ll play it online for 5-6 hours to make sure Ill enjoy it before I purchase any monthly subscription.

  10. Absolutely ridiculous. But I guess there’s always that group of junkies willing to pay for every little thing. Before you know it, they’ll include weapons and perks, and elite players will be indestructible for non-elite players. Don’t say that won’t happen, cause it will, eventually.
    And soon after that, other big franchises will follow and we’re all fucked.

    • You think that’s bad, just wait until the Lizard People force us to work in the giant salt mines. Lizard People love them some salt.

    • I for one welcome our new lizard overlords.

      Now, about that inbox …

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