He's been on the bandwagon for some time now, and once again analyst Michael Pachter has declared his belief that Activision will introduce a premium paid-for element for Call of Duty online.
The analyst now claims that Activision decided not to unveil the service prior to the release of the record-breaking Black Ops for fear that such an announcement might damage sales of the game. But with the launch out of the way, Pachter believes confirmation is imminent.
I think everyone will be offered the same multiplayer options for free that they have now,” he told Industry Gamers. In addition, I see premium items offered as virtual goods for a modest fee – let's say $1.
I think that the company will ‘tier' its offering by offering a $5 per month subscription to Black Ops that includes ALL virtual items for free, plus access to all map packs released as long as the playerremains active. There are probably going to be three $15 map packs, so that feature alone has a perceived $45 value, and I'm sure that there will be dozens of virtual items, so the $5 subscriber will perceive some value from subscribing.
In addition, the $5 subscriber may be offered exclusive tournaments, game play modes, ladders, achievements, and any other features that Activision can think up to induce them to pony up more money.”
However, Pachter's detailed prediction doesn't stop there.
Next, I think Activision will offer a $10 subscription to ALL Call of Duty games,” he added.
Anyone paying $10 per month gets virtual items, ladders, tournaments, achievements, game play modes and map packs for CoD MW, CoD MW2, Black Ops and World at War, and as long as their subscription remains alive, they will get the next game and the one after that. There are a total of 7 map packs (I think) available now, and will be another 3 next year, so for $10 per month, a player will get all 10 map packs. Not a bad value.
Next, I think Activision will offer a $15 monthly subscription that is an ‘all access pass', allowing subscribers to play WoW, StarCraft II (look for monetization there), the new Bungie game (when it comes out), all COD games, and whatever they do with Guitar Hero (maybe free downloads of songs), on an unlimited basis.
The trick is managing this without destroying sales of the game. They will tread very carefully, and will make sure that they let consumers know that they are NOT taking anything away, but are merely offering a LOT MORE VALUE for a little bit of money.”