Are we going to be charging for multiplayer? The answer is no.” Those are the words of Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg.
The comments come after analyst Michael Pachter yesterday outlined a detailed road map of how he thinks Activision will gradually roll out a number of premium options spanning the online feature set of its entire Call of Duty console catalogue.
But if such plans are being hatched, Activision is certainly not letting on.
The experience you have out of the box, connecting with the online community to play Call of Duty is absolutely integral to the experience and we'll never charge for that,” Hirshberg told Industry Gamers. It's not going to be something we'll attempt to monetise; it's part of the package.
Nothing we or anyone else tries is going to work if it doesn't have tremendous value for people and add a tremendous value to the gaming experience. [Pachter's] probably looking at meta-trends in the world and in culture about online services and new ways things should be monetised from Netflix to cloud-based computing.
So there are certainly a lot of behavioural shifts towards long-standing online relationships. But at the end of the day, all I'm trying to get across is I can unequivocally say we will never, ever charge for the multiplayer.”
It's not the first time the publisher has moved to deny such claims. In July Activision trio Dan Amrich, Robert Bowling (Infinity Ward) and Josh Olin (Treyarch) all denied reports that such a service was on the brink of being announced.
However, the publisher has previously strongly hinted that it aspires to monetise the online element of Call of Duty to some extent.
In September Activision COO Thomas Tippl stated that: There's no doubt that we are looking to extend recurring revenue models and in many ways we have already accomplished that – even on Call Of Duty, although it takes a different form than subscription.
As we look into the future, there are new and innovative service offerings that could give players more choice. What we're not going to do is take anything away from players that they used to get today for the price they get it for today. I don't think that would be a good and smart business decision.”