Kotick hopes for Call of Duty "online subscription service"

Activision boss claims gamers are clamouring for fee-based shooter

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has expressed interest in creating a paid online world based on the Call of Duty series.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal last week, he revealed his interest in making the shooter a fee-based product.

"I would have Call of Duty be an online subscription service tomorrow," he said. "When you think about what the audience’s interests are and how you could really satisfy bigger audiences with more inspired, creative opportunities, I would love to see us have an online Call of Duty world.

"I think our audiences are clamoring for it. If you look at what they’re playing on Xbox Live today, we’ve had 1.7 billion hours of multiplayer play on Live. I think we could do a lot more to really satisfy the interests of the customers."

While he said this was something he would want to do with "a snap of his fingers", his response to whether the company was actively looking at it was simply "hopefully."

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was 2009's biggest-selling title, shifting some 20 million units. This year's Call of Duty: Black Ops sports the long-running series' highest number of pre-orders to date.

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Latest comments (14)

Christopher Bowen Owner, Gaming Bus 7 years ago
No, his audience is not clamouring for it. HE is clamouring for it, and knows his audience will swallow anything they're shovelled.

I hope they go forth with it, and I hope it fails spectacularly. I just know it won't. It will succeed because gamers tend to buy what they're told to buy, and all the copycats will take note and do the same things with their games.

I don't like where this is headed.
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Steve Bailey Webmaster 7 years ago
I feel if they done a WW2 type MMORPG it could work well. It would take a lot of hard work and regular content updates but could be the next big thing. It would certainly apeal to a large audiance.
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 7 years ago
I suspect that this will happen gradually - one future instalment of CoD will launch with a vanilla MP mode where you have a low level cap and only have a few perks, and the paid service will have everything unlocked for a monthly sub. It probably won't happen with Black Ops though; perhaps the next Infinity Ward iteration.
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Show all comments (14)
Steve Bailey Webmaster 7 years ago
Do you think online world means diffrent fields of battle or one giant world?
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Aleksi Ranta Category Management Project Manager 7 years ago
At the end of the day we are all in this business to make money, for us, for the company we work for, for the shareholders and so on. We cant live on "love for gaming" alone. And really, there is nothing wrong with a bit of greed as long as people are willing to pay. Extortion...well that would be where id get worried.
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Soeren Lund Producer, Io Interactive7 years ago
Well said Aleksi.
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Christopher Hennen Designer 7 years ago
I agree with Aleski, but also with the word of warning (or impending doom?) that Christopher pointed out. It is a fine line between fairly making money for shareholders and extortion.
Gaming in general has become large enough where you can assume a good portion of the general public is consuming games, and any time the general public is being marketed to, a company can almost always assume customers will buy anything they are told, especially with well established and popular brands.
I imagine this will be marketed as something which will save consumers money and give more options of play, right?
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Chris Hayward7 years ago
Personally I like the idea, it makes sure that the people who play the most are responsible for the upkeep of the central servers. If it wasn't Kotick proposing this, then i'm sure the community will look more favourably on a pay per hour basis

Obviously we'll have to see the exact business model before passing absolute judgement however. Part of me hopes its like FIFA/Tiger Woods online, but knowing this is Activision then I doubt it'll be that cheap
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Jordi Rovira i Bonet Lead Engineer, Anticto7 years ago
I disagree with Aleksi. I would say "most" people is in games for the money, but not all. Some people is ok with "enough" money as long as they can do great satisfying and fun games.

I am not saying this people are better or worse than the rest.... well, hell yes, they are better from my subjective point of view. And a few of them are the ones that make historically relevant games, and eventually (even "accidentally") make a lot of money.

Of course i am quite sure activision will make a lot of money with their new plan, and there is nothing bad on that.
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even though I bought almost all call of duty games but I really hate you Activision , I just wish that a new game will rise and destroy all the success you have made .
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Mark Wallace Studying Game Design, Full Sail University7 years ago
I refuse to play call of duty, and this is the exact reason why. Activison likes to "milk" their "cash cows" for all their worth and its really disgusting.
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Al Campbell Studying Computer Games Technology, University of Abertay Dundee7 years ago
I think the problem with Kotick is not so much his money-grubbing - after all, that is his job - but the way that he tries to tell the media, and by extension the public, that this is what people want. I'm pretty sure that gamers are not "clamoring" for the privilege of lining Activision's pockets, in the same way that few people enjoy the 'quantity over quality' approach to games that Activision has favoured under Kotick's guidance.

If he would just admit that they are not doing this 'because it's what the public wants', that'd be fine. Continuing his charade of 'people want to give us money in new and exciting ways for the same product' is what has made Kotick one of the most derided figures in the industry today.
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Andrew Clayton QA Weapons Tester, Electronic Arts7 years ago
This is a mistake. It undermines the image of other developers and publishers who actually care about selling their products and services. It's short sighted in the worst way. A slight increase in profits now with a huge hit to the overall public faith in the industry.

This is the wrong way to make money.
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I agree. This decision, if implemented, will kill the CoD franchise very quickly. I mean many gamers, myself included, play on Xbox Live and that is a yearly fee to have multiplayer gaming to begin with. To add a possible monthly or tiered payment system built into "just another shooter", even if it is the "remarkable" Call of Duty franchise, is just more financial stress on gamers. If Activision proceeds with this type of short term profit generating "schemes", it would drive me and anyone else i can convince onto another shooter, i.e. Halo:Reach or Gears of War. (oh and i sold my copy of MW2 after about 3 months, anyways).

Just because i like to play shooters doesn't mean i am going to pony up a monthly subscription fee to play the latest iteration of Call of Duty. To me, this is an extremely short sighted move that comes directly from the top of Activision, and there are no gamers that i have ever met, who would want a payment system on top of the subscription to Xbox Live.

Make better games, and more fun ones. Don't nickel and dime gamers because we seem to be a "cash cow" to be milked. Something like this payment system might send the game industry in the wrong direction.
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