Activision's new Elite subscription service for Call of Duty
will be available for $49.99 a year, or about $4.15 a month, when it launches alongside the highly-anticipated Modern Warfare 3
Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg made the announcement at a Gamasutra attended press-only preview for Activision's Call Of Duty
XP fan event, going on in LA this weekend. The company has gone to some effort for the festivities, creating an enormous compound that recreates Modern Warfare 2
's The Pit and Scrapyard maps for real paintball tournaments.
The event also serves as the stage for Modern Warfare 3
's multiplayer unveiling, for a tournament offering a $1 million prize, and for fans' first hands-on opportunity with the Elite service. The company has taken care to unveil that service gradually
, aware that any miscommunication regarding the premium content offering could provoke some of the series' core fans.
In addition to a wide range of social features, skill tracking and clan management, Elite will also feature close Facebook integration, so players can assemble multiplayer matches with people on their friends list. It promises to sync with an associated mobile app "right out of the box," says Hirshberg.
Subscribers will receive new downloadable content on a monthly basis, while non-subscribers still have access to a number of the new social features, and can still buy DLC bundles a la carte when they're released on a schedule similar to the one players have come to expect for previous Call of Duty
games. Premium members are also eligible to participate in competitions with real-world and in-game prizes.
"Just buying the DLC alone would cost you $60 a year," Hirshberg said, adding that millions of fans who purchased all of Black Ops
' map packs spent that amount, helping the DLC achieve sales topping 18 million
Those who purchase the Hardened edition of Modern Warfare 3
will also get a year's free subscription to Elite, Hirshberg added.
The company's also developing episodic TV programming for Elite; in a program called "N00bTube," Will Arnett and Jason Bateman will provide funny commentary at the expense of player-created MW3
video. In addition, Ridley and Tony Scott will produce "Friday Night Fights," which pits interesting teams against one another in competitive play.