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CoD will move to "opt-in" premium model - Pachter

Analyst revises pay-to-play prediction, but still convinced Activision will monetise multiplayer

Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter has adjusted his assertion that Call of Duty multiplayer will move to a paid model by the end of the year, following yesterday's claims to the contrary by publisher Activision.

However, he remained sure that claims that the company is planning on finding new revenue models for its multiplayer games - potentially with an opt-in premium model rather than a subscription.

"I don't want to call out any of the blog posts or tweets or statements to IGN as untruthful," he told GamesIndustry.biz today.

"Rather, I think that they probably are true: Activision won't require people to play for multiplayer, but I think that they will find a way to offer a premium experience for a fee, whether that takes the form of subscription, pay-as-you-go, microtransactions for virtual goods, tournament fees or some combination."

He pointed to the publisher's history and particularly comments by CEO Bobby Kotick as a strong hint of its future intentions. "I am confident that the company will continue to move in the direction of extracting more revenue from gamers.

"In my view, Activision is motivated to charge for multiplayer, has a window of opportunity to do so, and can extract greater profits if it imposes a charge. It makes logical sense (to me at least) that given their motivation and opportunity, coupled with their past behaviour, they will charge in the future. Call of Duty is the most likely candidate due to the large number of users."

Pachter was also sure that any monetisation of Call of Duty's multiplayer would not harm its profits. "Some consumers will likely revolt, but giving full credit that the blogs, tweets and statements are true, virtually everyone will be able to continue to play for free, and only those who wish a premium experience will pay for it, with an opt-in model.

"I think that this is the most fair way to approach extracting value, and yes, I think it will be successful."

The analyst did, however, observe that while he considered multiplayer charges to be a financially sound move, he was not otherwise an advocate of them.

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Alec Meer avatar

Alec Meer


A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.