Call of Duty Elite goes free for Black Ops II

first_imgAlthough it managed to convince more than 2 million people to pay $50 a year on top of the $60 they already pay to get the latest Call of Duty games, Activision has decided to stop charging a premium fee for gamers who want access to the latest and greatest online Call of Duty content. The decision goes into effect with the launch of the latest title, Black Ops II, on November 13.Call of Duty Elite was a seemingly genius idea, and it follows in the same footsteps of everyone else in the industry trying to ask the same question: now that games are sophisticated enough for players to be engaged with them for months or even years before they get stale, what is the best way to keep collecting money from these players after the initial purchase?In previous generations, it was a pretty simple formula. Consumers would buy a game, beat it, then go to the store to buy another game. This generation is different because of online connectivity. Microsoft charges a fee to play Xbox 360 games online and Sony charges a fee to those who want premium services for their online gaming. However, the people who make the games don’t get the same luxury.Until now, the dominant plan has been for developers to create new pieces of content that gamers can buy to add to the experience. Once they’re hooked, they’ll end up paying a lot more than the $60 they shelled out at the store. For Activision, though, the thought was that there are so many Call of Duty players, it could also tack on a monthly fee to those who were the most ardent fans. In fact, it turned out there were about 2.3 million who were just that ardent.Call of Duty Elite gave dedicated servers and early access to new downloadable content to those who subscribed. However, it was somewhat plagued with confusion and there was a bit of backlash from non-Elite players who felt it was unfair to treat them as second-class citizens.So Black Ops II will mark the end of Call of Duty Elite, or, at least, paying for Elite because Activision is keeping the moniker but now touting it as a free service. The company will revert to the old strategy of just charging for DLC and other extras. In addition, users will be able to pay for a “season pass” of DLC, guaranteeing that they get all the extra content for a discounted upfront price of $50.Black Ops II could potentially break sales records when it launches next month — sales records, incidentally, that were set by its predecessors in the Call of Duty franchise.last_img read more