Activision might not ever charge for Call of Duty multiplayer as it exists today, the company indicates it will charge for "premium" content.
After Activision CEO Bobby Kotick once stated that he hoped to implement a subscription plan into the mega-popular Call of Duty franchise, Activision later clarified that it would never charge extra for players to take part in online multiplayer. However, analyst Michael Pachter's predictions of a "premium" Call of Duty tier may come true someday, as Activision statements at a recent conference indicate.
Activision COO Thomas Tippl spoke at the Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. Technology Conference last week and said that the company is always "looking to extend recurring revenue models." One such model is the release of a new Call of Duty game every year, which provides a constant stream of money coming from gamers mostly hungry for a new multiplayer experience.
Tippl also detailed Activision's ability to add to that revenue stream between releases through map packs, but revealed that Activision doesn't want to stop there. "As we look into the future, there are new and innovative service offerings that could give players more choice," he said. "What we're not going to do is take anything away from players that they used to get today for the price they get it for today. I don't think that would be a good and smart business decision."
"But I think we have a lot in our pipeline that we believe will provide great value for our players," Tippl added. "So I think there's continued opportunity to expand the player base and to provide them with service offerings and products that can also enhance revenue growth."
This appears to be proof that Activision most definitely has plans to create a new revenue stream with a premium Call of Duty service that will somehow add to the multiplayer experience offered today. Simply guessing, this could have something to do with the future release of map packs, exclusive modes, or the addition of cosmetic features exclusive to subscribers.
We may get a taste of this when Call of Duty: Black Ops is released on November 9, or we may not, but until Activision releases its detailed plans we won't know exactly what it has in store. I'm sure that won't stop anybody from jumping to conclusions.