Some may have scoffed at the notion of a subscription-based service tied to Call of Duty, but here we are one year later, and Call of Duty Elite is a runaway success. While a decrease in marketing and a launch plagued with technical issues could have sunk lesser services, a recent Activision financial report shows that the Elite numbers just keep on growing.
After the first week of Modern Warfare 3 being on the market with the Elite service, the numbers showed the skeptics that underestimating the gaming community’s love of CoD was never a wise move. With 4 million total subscribers, and 1 million of those paying the $50 for a premium account, it was impossible to tell how high the profits might climb.
According to the publisher’s most recent financial statements, the momentum has yet to cease. Elite subscriptions now number 10 million, with 2 million total premium subscribers. A quick dose of math means that to date, Activision has taken in $100 million for the Elite subscriptions alone. And that’s not even considering the amount of money that is guaranteed for every dose of MW3 DLC produced by Infinity Ward.
We had our suspicions that Elite was designed to eliminate risk of an under-performing CoD installment, but it was impossible to predict just how much the player base would continue to flock to the online service. Now that the experiment has proven to be a potentially game-changing business model, the only question remaining is what can be expected when Elite 2.0 launches alongside Black Ops 2. Will the service receive even more subscribers who favor the different setting, or has Elite drawn in all of the players that it conceivably could have at this point?
At this point we’ve learned not to bet against the amount of money CoD fans are willing to pump into their favorite franchise, and just recently Activision again committed to justifying subscription fees with worthwhile content. There’s no telling what Black Ops 2 will do to Elite subscription numbers, but it’s becoming harder to imagine what took Activision so long in implementing such a successful service.
Regardless of your personal feelings on the Call of Duty franchise, do you think numbers like these will convince other publishers to offer online services to their fans beyond simple matchmaking? Or is Call of Duty Elite a service that could only succeed in the most successful video game franchise in history?
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