Outspoken Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter has made a number of brave predictions about multiplayer gaming, claiming that he expects premium paid features to be added to a slew of major releases.
Pachter's latest round of projections follows Activision's firm rebuttal of suggestions that it might attach pay-to-play fees to current or in-development Call Of Duty titles.
His latest proclamation also maintains that, although he does not know exactly what form this new breed of monetisation will take, he expects it to bifurcate the online arena, with half of current players paying for premium versions and the rest sticking to limited free multiplayer.
"We expect somewhere around half of the current 15 million online game players to pay something for premium content, and expect the other half to play fewer hours online if the free experience is slightly less robust in the future," he said.
"Should the 7.5 million people who choose to pay generate only $5.00 per month (around 11.5¢ per hour), publisher revenues and operating profits would increase by $450 million," Pachter went on to appromixate.
"We think that premium online multiplayer content will be the event that turns the negative tide of industry sales around," he said, additionally claiming that those players who feel disenfranchised by charges would be likely to buy more games to make up the lost hours.
He cites multiplayer as primarily responsible for Modern Warfare 2's sales, claiming "Activision laments the missed opportunity to somehow monetise the incremental gameplay" and calculating that charging players the equivalent of $0.06 per hour would have raised an additional $120 million profit within six months.
Although Rockstar has yet to even announce its next game, Pachter has declared that the Red Dead Redemption developer/publisher's next title will include a new payment model - as would other impending big-hitters.
"We think that scheduled releases like Call of Duty Black Ops, Medal of Honor and Halo Reach, and unscheduled releases like Grand Theft Auto 5 all will contain the opportunity for gamers to pay more to the publishers," he surmised.