Call of Duty Elite membership will come free with Black Ops II.
The bespoke social network was once seen as Activision’s early attempt to manoeuvre the Call of Duty IP into the subscription-based market, but those plans have seemingly been abandoned.
Instead, Activision will try to generate post-sale revenue for the game via the sale of multilayer map packs or the new £34.99 Season Pass.
“For Black Ops II, we’re offering a season pass, and we’re still offering DLC map packs à la carte,” Activision Publishing chief exec Eric Hirshberg told VentureBeat.
“The best thing for our business is to keep our players engaged. What we’ve found, Dean, is that Elite offers a lot of really engaging services that were only reaching a portion of our community. We think that by making these services available to a much wider audience, it will be better both for our players and for us.
“Absolutely. Our mission from the start with Elite was to make multiplayer a more social, more connected experience. And we accomplished that, but only for our premium members. So we’ve come to the conclusion that Elite has more value as a community-wide platform to drive engagement and connectivity than as a paid, members-only service. This is truly a win/win.”
Activision insists, however, that the CoD Elite experiment was not a failure.
“We have sold over 2.3m Elite memberships,” Hirshberg added. “I think we’ve shown that people are willing to pay for services if those services are compelling. We’re not making this change because services are harder to market.
“We’re making this change because we think there is a greater benefit to making these services available to a wider audience.