We recently reported on Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter’s comments that Activision has to lead the charge into paid multiplayer with the Call of Duty franchise.
This caused an uproar in the gaming community and a quick rebuttal from Activision, who noted that Call of Duty will always be free to play online.
That said, most believe a subscription plan is still coming. There’s no reason you can’t have free and premium services.
Janco Partners’ Mike Hickey said today, “We believe management will announce a subscription plan for Call of Duty online, a premium service that automatically drops new maps and items. We expect 4 to 5 million current COD online players would subscribe to the service.”
As games continue to shift more towards digital and into the realm of services, players are less likely to buy new software, which is why (in part) NPD data has been showing a slowdown in recent months.
Publishers will need to monetise their online offerings, and we agree with Pachter and Hickey that a Call of Duty subscription is highly likely to happen at some point.