Call of Duty Elite drops paid subscriptions, netting more money per Black Ops 2 player

call of duty black ops ii

The era of the video game subscription seems to be closing. Massively multiplayer online role-playing games like Star Wars: The Old Republic are giving up subscriptions after being open for just one year. It’s not just MMOs though. Activision and Electronic Arts were both hoping that subscriptions would open up a new stream of revenue from players of their big first-person shooter games Call of Duty and Battlefield. While both Call of Duty Elite and Battlefield Premium drew in a large number of members, at least Activision is calling it quits. Going forward, all Call of Duty Elite services will be free for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.

Activision announced the change to its Call of Duty network via a press release on Monday morning. Unlike with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Elite members can no longer pay to receive early access to downloadable content. It is replacing this service, at least on Xbox 360, with a $50 season pass for access to the downloadable content packs planned for the next year. Wii U, PlayStation 3, and PC owners will be out of luck though, as Microsoft’s console is the only one mentioned. (Activision did tell Joystiq that it’s “working with Nintendo” to get the DLC and season pass into the Wii U version of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.)

Call of Duty Elite, while a questionable success according to users, was undeniably successful as a business. As of May, Activision has 10 million registered Elite uses, 2 million of which were paying customers. That’s a fraction of the 40 million monthly active users playing Modern Warfare 3 at the time, but a substantial sum of new revenue all the same.

The method for generating that revenue wasn’t smooth enough though, and it created divisions in the Call of Duty community. Michael Olson, a market analyst with investment bank Piper Jaffray, said that by making Call of Duty Elite free, Activision stands to generate more than $80 per Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 player as opposed to the $75 to $80 generated by the average Modern Warfare 3 player.

That’s certainly good news for Activision in the long term. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is expected to be the most successful release in the franchise. GameStop president Tony Bartel told MCV on Monday, “We are seeing the highest pre-orders in history. With its current pace, this Call of Duty is on track to break records and is likely to be our biggest game launch of all time.”

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Tricked-out e-scooters and bike lights that lock

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Buying Guides

The best PlayStation 4 exclusives you can get right now

The PlayStation 4's game library and an incredible selection of exclusive games could make anyone with an Xbox One or Nintendo Switch think twice. Here's our list of the latest and greatest PS4 exclusives.

Microsoft Project xCloud will support all current and future Xbox One games

Microsoft's Project xCloud video game streaming service will support all current and future Xbox titles. This includes more than 3,500 games for the Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One, and more than 1,900 future games for the Xbox One.

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.

Overwatch League Commissioner Nate Nanzer moves to Epic Games, Fortnite esports

Nate Nanzer, the founding commissioner of the Overwatch League, will be leaving his post to join Epic Games and oversee competitive Fortnite. Nanzer will be inheriting a robust esports scene, but one besieged by cheating.

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night DLC stirs controversy for Kickstarter backers

The post-launch DLC for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has been revealed. The $10 Iga's Back Pack DLC that will allow players to earn the Swordwhip weapon, however, has stirred controversy among the game's Kickstarter backers.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will focus on troubling, realistic emotions

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is reportedly the title for this year's entry in the series. The game is also said to draw inspiration from the controversial No Russian level of 2009's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

The best Nintendo Switch games, from Breath of the Wild to Rocket League

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now.

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.

Dell drops huge savings on XPS and Alienware gaming laptops for Memorial Day

We've seen a lot of different Memorial Day sales come down the pipeline this week, but some of the best so far have been from Dell. With big discounts on XPS and Alienware gaming laptops, now is a great time to pick up a new computer for…

Dauntless hits 5 million players in first week; Phoenix Labs tries to keep up

Dauntless suffered from matchmaking problems and server issues in its first days after launch. Things have started getting better for the Monster Hunter: World challenger though, as the game surpassed 5 million players in its first week.

Cyberpunk 2077 development at full speed, but still not playable at E3 2019

The development of Cyberpunk 2077 is at "full speed," but it will not yet be playable at E3 2019. CD Projekt Red's president, meanwhile, opened the possibility that the game's release date will finally be revealed at the annual event.

PS4 Dualshock 4 wireless controllers get Memorial Day price cuts from Walmart

The standard black PS4 controller is what usually comes with the console itself, but if you want to add something a bit more customized your gaming experience, Walmart is offering a wide variety of colorful DualShock 4 controllers at…

Square Enix may tease long-awaited The Avengers Project at E3 2019

Marvel and Square Enix formed a multi-game partnership in January 2017, starting with The Avengers Project. Nothing has been heard since about it, but Square Enix may be teasing the presence of The Avengers Project at E3 2019.