All those rumors you’ve heard about Activision thinking about charging players a monthly fee to play their hit Call of Duty game franchise online with others? It turns out they were true, even though it was crystal clear that it would be the worst idea ever and that no self-respecting gamer would pay to play something they’ve been doing freely since online multiplayer has become so popular, the company is going to try their luck anyway.
The new service will be called Call of Duty Elite, and it will launch this fall along with the much-anticipated third installment in their ultra-popular Modern Warfare series, Modern Warfare 3.
At the moment, however, it does not sound like everyone will have to pay a fee to play online as once feared—no, you should still be able to play as you have been once you’ve purchased their game. What Activision is doing is testing the waters by offering a special “arena” of sorts where for a small monthly fee you can play online and get extra added downloadable content and special maps to use that you won’t have on the basic MW3 disc. And yes, those of you on Xbox 360 would have to pay this on top of what you pay to play on Xbox Live.
This is of course an attempt to bait you in; if the special extra maps are as awesome as one would expect them to be, you’re going to want to play in them, and thus you’ll find yourself tempted to pay the monthly fee, which is expected to be less than other fees like Netflix’s $7.99 a month service, for example.
And if you’re paying a monthly fee for some extra DLC and maps, then what happens after you get the maps and DLC? Sounds like instead of acquiring the maps as you do today with a small Marketplace or PSN purchase, you’d be paying the fee to have access to these maps. Either that or they’ll have a hell of a lot of extra maps to release each new month. Details are still a little bit cloudy at the moment.
All I do know is this is the beginning of bad things if players begin to take said bait. I enjoy the Call of Duty games as much as the next person, but this is just feels like one more step towards a monthly World of Warcraft-type fee to play in general. Oh, right, and did I mention that Activision is more officially Activision Blizzard Inc. and owns World of Warcraft as well?
The worst thing about video games today is easily the DLC. When I shell out $60 for a game, I expect to get my money’s worth. So when we find out that we have to pay even more to get or see or do something related to the game we spent $60 on, that’s when you can’t help but feel a little ripped off. It goes hand-in-hand with online multiplayer-friendly titles like the Call of Duty games. When you spend that $60 you know you’re most likely getting a really short, intense campaign (which is not worth the retail price on its own), and the ability to compete online with players around the world (which makes up for the shorter campaign) in a bunch of exciting locations. If you want to charge a little one-time fee later for even more maps, be my guest—that’s reasonable enough. But trying to get people to pay a monthly fee for these things? That doesn’t cross me as a “respect your customers” type decision.
It will be interesting to see how it all plays out, especially when we learn the details of this new “service.” From the sounds of the internet, one can only assume that very few want anything at all to do with this, and many Call of Duty gamers are already set to jump ship to the fantastic-looking Battlefield 3.
But until we see what exactly is being offered, how many won’t be able to resist, and how good Battlefield 3‘s online multiplayer will be, it’s impossible to know what’s going to happen.
Speak your minds; how much or how little sense does this decision make, and how does it affect how you now look at the Call of Duty franchise?