Industry analyst Michael Pachter expects Activision to introduce a paid-for Call of Duty online subscription model by the end of this year.
The news comes following comments made from Activision boss Bobby Kotick last month, who said he'd like to set up an subscription service for Call of Duty.
Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Pachter told Industry Gamers: We estimate that a total of 12m consumers are playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 for an average 10 hours per week on PSN and Xbox Live.
And the continued enjoyment of this game has sucked the available time away from what otherwise would be spent playing newly purchased games.
We think that it is incumbent upon Activision – with the most popular multiplayer game – to take the first step to address monetisation of multiplayer. It is too early to tell whether that will be a monthly subscription, tournament entry fees, micro-transaction fees, or a combination of all three, but we expect to see the company take some action by year-end, when Call of Duty: Black Ops releases.
The company has the greatest experience of the Western publishers with multiplayer subscriptions, given its huge success with World of Warcraft, and we expect Activision to apply a WoW-type model to its Call of Duty franchise.”
Pachter continued: It is likely that Activision will ease the pain of consumers and will continue to offer some form of free multiplayer, but we believe it is imperative that the company begins to capture some value from the huge number of gaming hours spent – approaching 4bn combined hours on Xbox Live and PSN.
The average single player game has an expected play time of under 30 hours, suggesting that 133m units of equivalent game play have been spent playing Call of Duty online.
Activision has only seen revenues from the original 20m units plus an estimated 8m map packs sold.”