Investment firm Wedbush Securities believes that the Call of Duty Elite $50 yearly membership plan will prove "very popular" with hardcore gamers, and will generate around $50 million in revenue during 2012.
The Call of Duty Elite service, managed by Activision's Beachhead studio, offers free features such as stat tracking, video sharing, and enhanced matchmaking to all registered users, and those who pay a monthly fee will gain access to downloadable content and other additional content.
An analyst note from Wedbush said that the proposed membership price is a "no-brainer" for any gamer who plans to buy all of the DLC for the upcoming Modern Warfare 3.
"We expect that at least 1 million will sign up for the premium Elite membership by year end," it said. "The Call of Duty network effect may be amplified by premium Elite, such that if a gamer's friend purchases premium Elite and gets access to premium maps, the gamer may feel compelled to purchase premium Elite in order to compete as early and as often as possible."
The note estimated that the service will have 3 million subscribers by the end of 2012, and 5 million by the end of 2013.
Wedbush also noted that it does not believe the yearly price of the Elite service will be increased for at least two years, in order to allow the service to gain traction.
Overall, Wedbush said that the service should generate roughly $50 million in revenue during 2012, with an operating margin of at least 60 percent. It said that in the long term, it expects Activision to open an online store, allowing Call of Duty players to purchase additional items.
Turning to Battlefield 3's Battlelog system, an upcoming service that is similar to Activision's Elite, Wedbush noted that it expects Call of Duty players will opt to pay for Elite regardless. It also believes that EA will inevitably charge for Battlelog, with a yearly price similar to Elite's.