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Activision Defends  Call of Duty Elite  Platform
Activision Defends Call of Duty Elite Platform
June 3, 2011 | By Frank Cifaldi




Activision is defending itself from backlash against its subscription-based Call of Duty Elite platform, promising consumers that "nothing will be taken away."

In a blog post and subsequent FAQ published Friday, Activision clarified to its Call of Duty fanbase that the platform -- which will offer subscription-based perks and services starting with this year's Modern Warfare 3 -- will be an "additive experience" that will not take away from the kind of content that players can currently access.

"The Call of Duty 'out of the box' experience that our players expect... remains the same as ever," the FAQ reads. "Our promise to you is this: Elite only adds to the Call of Duty experience. Nothing will be taken away from the experience you know and love."

"With Call of Duty Elite, we’re adding a new choice for those who want to get even more out of the game. Even haters can play for free," it continued.

The FAQ goes on to outline features that Elite will provide for free, including custom iOS and Android applications, custom leaderboards, detailed performance tracking, video uploads, and Facebook integration.

The company again stressed that it was unable to detail most of the paid features of Elite, as the premium-tier service "was designed to be deeply integrated with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, and will not be demonstrable until we are closer to the launch of the game."

"We know seeing is believing, and over the next few months we will be revealing and demonstrating more of the premium features and by the end of the summer, we will reveal the entire service in full."

The full FAQ released Friday is available here [pdf link]. More details on the service are available in our original report, and Gamasutra's Chris Morris wrote a detailed editorial piece on Elite's potential impact here.


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Comments


Joshua Sterns
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Seems like Bungie has been doing this since Halo 2. Most of it is free. (I think you have to pay money to stream or upload videos from/to your PC.)

James Young
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Nothing new under the sun I suppose. Activision saw what Bungie and MS did with Waypoint and said let's do the same thing only charge for some of the services.

Rolando Alvarez
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"With Call of Duty Elite, we’re adding a new choice for those who want to get even more out of the game. Even haters can play for free," it continued.



Just so it's made plain, by "haters" they mean people who will pay for their game yet do not see Call of Duty Elite as a worthwhile investment, right? Oh, Activision...

R G
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Wow Activision. "Haters?"



I give up. I do believe everything about this company has been said, by myself and more eloquently others.

The sheep are going to buy in, and there's nothing we can do about it I suppose.



*whispers* except maybe ask those Sony hackers if they could do a favor xD. Just joking!

Greg McClanahan
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Oh, come on, save the melodrama -- they're just injecting a bit of personality into their statement.



Don't buy it if you don't like it; a publicly traded, for-profit company does not owe you anything.

R G
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Never said they owed me anything. I'm simply saying that they could show a bit more class and not call people who have a problem with the product they buy "haters" because they won't blindly pay for everything.



It was a good try though.

august clark
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But the people that do buy it are sheep according to you so name calling is cool, as long as you are the one doing it because you do it to be clever or something. What is your point exactly? Post more than any other living breathing person on these forums? You have posted the same exact thing in at least two threads on this same page, I think your point has been made. Enough already.

R G
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No, I said, if you'd re-read the statement "buying it blindly" i.e. buying it simply because that it was the crowd does. Last time I checked these were discussions. I presented my view, and I'm open to others. I don't necessarily have a problem with the program itself but with the way Activision has handled the situation abroad.



As an Activision customer, and someone who has generally enjoyed the (early) Call of Duty franchise, and someone who actively participated in the original Modern Warfare mod, I think it's fair to criticize the company. If I wanted to be cool or clever, I'd simply point you to one of the recent Penny Arcade comics :).

JB Vorderkunz
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EDIT: too much coffee has made me snarky. still though, i'm not sure that this is a smart move by Activision...especially if B3 is as good as advertised. It's basically catering to the 1337s OMG i just got it, viz:



CoD cycle: causal friendly to 1337saus to causal friendly back to 1337saus...

WoW cycle: causal friendly to 1337saus to causal friendly back to 1337saus...



i'm seeing a pattern ;-P

Jason Schwenn
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"Even haters can play for free"



Doesn't this imply the game itself is therefore free?



Forget the fact they referred to customers as haters...the game is free now??

Amir Sharar
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He could be right in the sense that some "haters" would illegally pirate the game and play for free...reduced DRM measures confirmed!

Corey Lucero
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Calling your customers "haters" is not the best selling strategy i'd imagine. Those "haters" still spent billions on you the last few years.

illian Quinn
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How come I feel like I've suddenly lost interest in CoD?

Grant Orban
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I think they could really turn this into good PR for themselves if they gave it to "long term supporters" for free. For example players who have bought 50% of the previous CoD map packs could get 3 months free. People who have bought 75% of the previous CoD map packs could get 6 months free. A kind of "thanks guys - we couldn't have done it without you" type thing.



If they balanced the perceived "greediness" with some sort of benevolence people would have a much better opinion of them.

Glenn Sturgeon
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I'll save my money and just play Duty Calls again for a laugh.



Borring borring borring You have increased Rank to sargent major elite sargent gunnar !!!! lol

The MW MP i've seen is about that exciting imo.



If people will pay for XBL then i can see them paying for the Elite COD membership.

Well at least if thats the "cool thing to do" becouse all thier buddies do it.



I guess maybe i'm one of the "Haters" but theres pretty much no chance i'll waste my time playing, Free is not cheap enough.

I see the whole design of the MP as backwards and horribly unbalanced.

Giving people who are winning an option for more and more advantage is so "against any concept of balance".

Alan Rimkeit
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LAN was all ready taken away. So, this is disingenuous to begin with.

R G
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Thank you Alan. Here I thought I was the only one who missed LAN ^_^

Alan Rimkeit
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No Robert, you are not the only one. :( Some of my best and funnest gaming moments were with my actual friends all playing one of the many LAN games we played all in the same room with pizza and beer/pop. Now that was gaming fun!

R G
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I agree! Actually, right before this thread started I was at a friend's house playing Call of Duty 4 and Modern Warfare 2.



I vividly remember Halo 3 owing to some of my greatest gaming memories, along with Unreal Tournament :)

Ben Pitseleh
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I miss LAN too, but doesn't Black Ops have it included? I recall being surprised since it is "standard" to have that missing these days.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

R G
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But according to Activision we would be "haters" for not wanting to buy into their service. We're the minority in this. The mass will buy into whatever says Call of Duty. The real question is when this effect will wear off...or if this is the answer to prolonging that.

sean lindskog
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Wow. People getting all in a huff over the word "haters" in a press release. These are the things in life you get upset over? Cry me a river.



When you b*tch about absolutely ridiculous stuff (and that *IS* ridiculous), it tarnishes any valid complaints you might have about the company, because you've labeled yourself as a sanctimonious, hyper-sensitive whiner.



You look even more ridiculous when you talk as if Activision, the corporate entity, has somehow personally insulted you. One guy in a marketing department somewhere used one word in one press release.



You are also the reason that these big companies have to walk on eggshells every time they say anything, resulting in such sterile "say-nothing market-speak" communications to their fans. Because apparently one single word with a bit of colour can send legions of you into a frenzy.

David Marcum
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How did the Gamespot comments end up on Gamasutra? - Wierd

R G
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^This.

Luis Guimaraes
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Nice! Yes, keep helping the concurrence. If you don't give enough value for the price, soon somebody else will.

wes bogdan
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Bobby represents everything that's wrong with Activision as this is a test and passing it=failing as that means sheep buy then they put the screws to the smart people who know when they're being screwed over.



I'll go with battlefield 3 ftw and see what happens with COD. The internet is a wonderful thing as we can all talk up how much the elite program screws you over and virally it could snowball and be very bad for COD.



Down with BK.

John Martins
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"The Call of Duty 'out of the box' experience that our players expect... remains the same as ever,"



I recall the above being one of the main complaints aimed at the franchise, and now they're openly admitting it. MW3 is the same as every other CoD, and if you expect anything new from your sequels, you have to pay more.

Alexander Jhin
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Activision marketing screwed up badly.



First, why market something that can be perceived as controversial if it will "not be demonstrable until" later? I think waiting or having someone stand up at E3 to explain the whole thing would have been much more successful.



Second, the actual official information is this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25TH_suHOhk . Unfortunately, it looks (and sounds) like fan machinima rather than an official video. How annoying is "TheLegendOfKarl"? It has 20,000 dislikes, 7,000 likes.



Finally, Activision sounds like it's trying to be too hip: Using the word "haters" is fun, but not when you're trying to appease people you've already pissed off via poor communication.



Whatever, this will clear up, and Activision will go on to make millions of dollars again.

Amir Sharar
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I think we can all agree that it makes sense for a business to look to somehow monetize the fact that their product is extremely popular and so often played. How this is done is the only controversial aspect.



Most agree that DLC map packs are reasonable if the price is right and there was enough value in the original game to begin with (many agree that Halo Reach shipped with too few multiplayer maps). Some agree that online services like Bungie's online video rendering service for Halo matches is a reasonable cost. The point is that there are varying degrees and there will always be people opposed to such pay-services.



Activision is in a tough spot because they cannot demonstrate the value to customers because it would reveal too much of the game. It would have been best to have kept this under wraps until they were able to show the game.



Secondly, if there are two tiers to Elite, then they need to re-word it soon to avoid confusion. Elite Silver and Elite Gold would go a long ways (or however they want to name their tiers) to clearing up the fact that some of the Elite features are accessible to everyone.



What I'm more interested in is how they play to get their largely casual (term used with old definition in mind) audience to hop on board this "Elite" train. Whatever they saw now has little impact once the game is out and sells millions. How they pitch the service to their customers then is what really matters most.

Chris Skuller
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Thank god. As a "hater", I was very concerned that some new kind of Hater surcharge was going to be added to MW3.

Eric Geer
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Like^

A W
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Activision just OWNED ALL THE HATERS.... THE HATERS HAVE BEEN OWND!1!!!



Seriously I fell like I'm back at Gamespot old days of System Wars. It's good to see that the PR campaigns of Ativ are catching up with the gaming lingo and encouraging the practices of Azzhats and Prepubescents A-holes. At least they know their CORE audiences.

Ben Pitseleh
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It seems strange that they are comforting those that don't want a subscription service that nothing key will be missing from the game, which by implication means that nothing noteworthy will be included in the subscription and so it is a moot point.

Jorge Gonzalez Sanchez
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I didn't know flame wars could start in Gamasutra. Thought people here were "the busy kind".


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