Call Of Duty: Elite is just another prong in Activision's automatic cash generation scheme. The long rumoured subscription service aims to bring social networking features to the world's most popular game. Problem is, it just doesn't look worth it yet.
Officially announced this afternoon, Call Of Duty: Elite will be compatible with all COD titles post Black Ops. Naturally that includes the upcoming Modern Warfare 3. The service is designed to bring you a detailed statistical analysis of your performance in the FPS, and will be available for free and as a paid subscription service. As far as what Activision has announced so far today, traditional online multiplayer will not be affected. This is pretty clearly aimed at super serious hardcore Call Of Duty players that want to analyse every last detail of their performance.
One thing worth noting is that subscribers will get automatic access to new DLC and map packs without having to pay extra for them, but that content will still be available separately for those that don't want to subscribe to Elite.
The Elite service itself has been developed by new Activision upstart Beachhead Games. The platform will be accessible both online (via a variety of devices such as smartphones, tablet computers and conventional web broswers) as well as in-game. The whole service is essentially a glorified statistics page. You'll get access to a statistical overview of your performance across Call Of Duty titles which you'll be able to compare with friends. You'll also be able to connect to groups and view statistics and leaderboards across those registered. We suppose dividing things by university, school and work-place would be kind of cool. Another feature will allow you to compete in various contests where you'll be able to win real prizes such as iPads.
In short: Elite is a pretty comprehensive accompaniment to the Call Of Duty experience. The problem is, it's just not comprehensive enough. There's very little perceived value here when developers such as Guerrilla and Zipper Interactive are providing similar stat-tracking for free. Sure, Activision's Call Of Duty solution might offer much more functionality than its competitors, but is anyone really willing to pay to access that content?
We should stress that Activision's planning to give portions of Elite away for free, but a "premium membership" is still part of the plan. Activision hasn't announced any pricing details as of yet.
A lot of people seem irritated by this announcement, but we're not entirely sure why. Activision's taken the safest possible route it can to monetise Call Of Duty's multiplayer, almost to the point where it's kind of meaningless. We're sure there will be people who will pay for Elite — clans will probably get a lot out of the statistic features of the service — but we suspect most will simply ignore it. There just isn't much value to what they're announcing at the moment.
We suppose the announcement could set a worrying precedent though. While we don't imagine many people subscribing for Elite in its current guise, how long will it take before Activision starts gimping non-subscribers in order to get numbers up? In fairness to the publisher, it's promised not to do that.
There's a trailer that details everything available in Call Of Duty: Elite after the jump. The trailer tries to be funny, but it's not. Hit the jump to catch a glimpse of that.
Call Of Duty: Elite will launch in November, with a public beta scheduled for the Summer.