Activision has confirmed that its 2011 Call of Duty game will be revealed in full within weeks. But one detail has been announced – COD 2011 will be the most online-enabled Call of Duty title ever.
It will use a range of dedicated online technologies and social networking features that are currently being developed at mystery studio Beachhead.
CEO Eric Hirshberg described the new initiative as as "online platform" that "will be an integral part to the innovation signature of the Call of Duty game that we're releasing this year".
The biggest news, however, is confirmation that for the first time Call of Duty will offer players additional online features at a premium. Whether or not this will turn out to be the long-rumoured subscription service remains to be seen.
"We haven't yet released the details of the business model of Beachhead," Hirshberg told investors, as translated by Seeking Alpha. "You'll certainly see [further online monetisation]. That is a response to the patterns that you're talking about.
"The passion that people have for the game, the amount of time they're willing to engage with one another in a connected way. Our goal has been to create an experience that was amplifying enough and energising enough and igniting enough to that community to be able to be monetized."
Boss Kotick, however, was keen to emphasise that players will never have to pay extra to receive they services that they do today.
"The Beachhead initiatives will be part of that this fall," Bobby Kotick added. "We think we'll reset the bar once again for that genre and that franchise.
"While we are attempting to deliver new incremental experiences that have yet heretofore been unseen by our players, we are not attempting to monetize or take any experience away that currently comes as part of the value proposition of buying the game."
It's also possible that we could even see a break with the standard annual release model, with a purchasable disc release used as the point from which digital expansions – perhaps spanning more than a single year – can be added to.