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Security a premium for new Call of Duty Elite service

Beachhead promises "nothing we design is exposed"

Activision's Call of Duty Elite service will place online security at a premium, following high-profile attacks that have left services such as Sony's PlayStation Network wide open to exploitation from hackers.

The service, which adds free and paid features to the most popular online multiplayer game on consoles, launches this November with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and will be backwards compatible with last year's hit, Black Ops.

"From a developer standpoint we put an extremely high premium on security," Chako Sonny, studio head at Beachhead told our sister site Eurogamer.net.

A lot of the team come from worlds that have nothing to do with traditional video game design

Jamie Berger, Beachhead

"We have dedicated staff focusing on that from an architectural standpoint, making sure nothing we design is exposed, and we're also making sure that we're securing the events and competitions that will eventually become part of the service."

No monthly pricing for Elite has yet been revealed, although suggestions are that it will be less than other monthly console services like Netflix.

As well as additional maps and other downloadable content, Elite will offer detailed stat tracking for users, with developer Beachhead hiring from outside of the traditional games business to secure the right talent.

"A lot of the team on the Beachhead side come from worlds that have nothing to do with traditional video game design: coming from people dealing with mobile apps, user interface and other entertainment and interactive services," commented Jamie Berger, vice president of digital for the Call of Duty series.

He also said that Beachhead is pleased with the balance it has struck between free and paid-for content for the roll-out of the service, but it's a fluid business which may change depending on user needs.

"You can argue about what's invaluable and what's not invaluable all day long," he said. "Our philosophy is that what we need to be able to do is say, if we're doing something that's premium, it needs to earn it. It needs to be something that when the player sees what we're up to, sees the work that's involved and the reinvestment going back into the service, or the content – they look at it and say, I understand why that's valuable."

"We've done a lot of research on this, and we're pretty confident that we've got a good mix for today at least: what's premium content and what isn't. I think what we may find is that there are some things we've done where the feature just doesn't behave the way the community wants it to behave – yet."

The service will be available through a number of web and mobile formats as well as in-game and via consoles. A public beta is due to begin this summer.

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Matt Martin

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Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.

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