Call of Duty Takes the Warfare to Your Wallet with a Monthly Fee [UPDATE]

May 30, 2011 Written by Jonathan Leack

[UPDATE] Infinity Ward’s Robert Bowling has stated on his Twitter that a fully detailed announcement will arrive tomorrow morning.

[Original Story] For the past few years the idea of subscription fees appearing on non-MMO titles has been a dreadful but very real proposition. Rumors of Activision Blizzard taking advantage of Call of Duty‘s popularity to deliver a hard, punishing blow to the wallets of gamers have been around since as early as 2009. Even Michael Pachter, the man who seems to surface whenever a debate in the industry ensues, has supported such a concept. Now, what was once a mere nightmarish thought has become a reality.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 will be the first of its kind to implement a rigid but optional monthly fee structure for those looking to experience additional content. Titled Call of Duty Elite, subscriptions are said to include maps, items, and other enticing additions to the game that won’t available straight out of the box. Said items will be exclusive to subscribers, and it’s questionable if content will be available through direct purchase outside of the subscription.

A price is still being worked on, but The Wall Street Journal notes that “they [Activision] expect the cost to be less than fees for comparable online-entertainment services“, which drives it to around the $4.99/month range. DLC is already expensive, and Activision has been known to successfully nickel and dime with what many consider to be overpriced map packs, which is made possible by Call of Duty‘s prodigious following. It has routinely been the leader in sales throughout the gaming industry, so it’s only natural that it’d become the first to see such a radical implementation. It also doesn’t help that the folks over at Activision publish the game. They were the ones who upped the price of PC games to $60 after all.

This beckons the question: would the additional content have been developed otherwise? Or maybe Activision will withhold ideas during the development process in order to save quality goods for subscribers. Whatever the case, this is a whole new ball game that makes DLC look like a catalyst toward a grim future for the gaming community.