Call of Duty Elite Goes (Kind of) Free
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 14:10
Call of Duty Elite is Activision’s subscription-based community platform for the entire “Call of Duty” franchise. For $50 a year, paying users got access to features like clans and video uploads. Certain features were also available to registered users free of charge -- features like heat maps, stats and leaderboards -- but not everything.
Now, all users will gain access to the entire breadth of Elite’s services for free. Except for the one feature that most people care about, of course.
Subscribers to the old Elite business model also got access to all downloadable content for their games included with their yearly fee. This was definitely the meat of the experience, since map packs are definitely the most widely used (and costly) component of the “Call of Duty” experience.
With four map packs per game, at $15 a pop (which is $5 more than most map packs for other shooters), users actually saved a few bucks by subscribing if they intended to purchase all of that year’s “Call of Duty” downloadable content anyway. The added features were basically gravy for the hardest of the hardcore players that cared about such things.
The new Elite package will entail all of the original features, except for those map packs, which will still be available at the individual $15 price point. The packs will also be available in a more traditional “season pass” for $50, or the price of the original Elite subscription.
Activision confessed that the reason they’ve dropped the subscription fee for the extra features is that it created confusion amongst its users over what was an wasn’t free.
At a guess, I’d also be willing to say that it might have had something to do with users being unhappy about having to pay for features that have been available for free for years. The “Halo” games, for instance, provides video uploads and clan support already in the game, free of charge. However, that didn’t stop Elite from being a wildly successful commercial success, as we’ve seen time and again that gamers will still throw their money at a company even while crying out about how unfair its business practices are.
For Activision’s part, charging the exact same fee for its map packs as it did for a service that already included those maps, as well as other features, sends something of an odd message. Either they’re saying that those extra features are completely worthless, or they’re admitting that they should have been free in the first place.
Actually, they’re not admitting anything.
Regardless, if you love Call of Duty and don’t intend to buy every single map pack for “Black Ops 2,” this is likely a win for you.