Activision Blizzard and Infinity Ward have batted away talk of plans to introduce a paid subscription model to current or upcoming Call of Duty games.
A mysterious player video appeared yesterday, which showed references to membership over the top of a Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer session.
While a publisher retroactively adding an additional cost to an existing game seemed highly unlikely, many saw it as the actualisation of recent comments by Activision CEO Bobby Kotick that he would like to introduce subscriptions to Call of Duty.
Additionally, Webdush analyst Michael Pachter predicted earlier this week that Call of Duty would move to a paid multiplayer model by the end of the year. However, Activision has claimed there are no such plans.
Activision's Dan Amrich dismissed the video as a "glitch", which had caused an Xbox Live subscription page to appear in Modern Warfare 2. "It's not a secret portal to some nefarious plot to charge people for COD multiplayer - and there are no plans to do that."
Infinity Ward creative strategist Robert Bowling – who has resisted joining his former comrades at Respawn – added on Twitter, "For the record, nobody has to pay to play COD or MW2 multiplayer, nor will they."
On his own blog, he elaborated that "No such plan exists for this or any other Call of Duty (including the upcoming Black Ops)." Whether this also encompasses unannounced titles is unclear.
Further corroboration of the claims came in the form of an official Activision statement to IGN. "Reports of a subscription membership in Modern Warfare 2 are not true. Activision has no plans to charge gamers to play Call of Duty multiplayer."
Whether all this entirely defuses suspicion and speculation remains to be seen. Kotick recently expressed some frustration with Xbox Live, again hinting that he was keen to move to a direct-to-Activision subscription.