The idea of charging for Call of Duty’s online games has been circulating for awhile now. When asked if he thought Call of Duty should be online, Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision, the publisher of the Call of Duty games, seemed under the impression that gamers were dying for the idea, going so far as to claim that fans were “clamoring” to give Activision their money, not to mention the additional fees that Xbox Live gamers pay. It seemed a slightly ridiculous claim, but then the industry started to sag.
After the disappointing June numbers for the industry were released, analysts began to line up with their advice on how to fix the woes of video games. Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter claimed that he knew how. In a recent report, Pachter claimed that part of the reason that the industry is experiencing slow sales is that the games that have deep online replayability are discouraging gamers from shelling out for new titles while they can still get enjoyment from old ones online. If you think it seems slightly ironic that the suggested solution for people not spending money is to charge them even more, then you are not alone.
The story made the rounds, and gamers did not seem all that thrilled by the prospect of yet again paying Activision more money. Each of the two expansion packs for Modern Warfare cost a record-setting $15 apiece. People still bought them in record numbers, but they did so grudgingly. Then last night, a new YouTube video appeared online, claiming that a gamer accidentally came across a membership request to play Modern Warfare 2. While totally unsubstantiated, more than 35,000 views in one day suggest that people are taking the video at least somewhat seriously.
In answer to the growing concern, Infinity Ward’s Robert Bowling addressed the video via Twitter, and while not denying its legitimacy, did state that Call of Duty would remain free.
“For the record, nobody has to pay to play Call of Duty or Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer, nor will they.” Bowling said.
Again, these could all just be reactionary rumors, and the video could very easily be fake, but Call of Duty: Black Ops is due out November 9, and we haven’t heard much about its multiplayer. More on this if and when it develops.