Call of Duty: Elite has been a big success for Activision, with 7M members, 1.5M of whom are premium users who paid $50 USD for a year's subscription. However, Activision still feels like it "bungled" the launch, making users warier of the service than they should have been.
"I hesitate to talk about Elite, because even though we've had some early success with the numbers, it's far from time for us to be doing any victory laps on Elite," stated Activision CEO Eric Hirschberg.
The decision on how to tell gamers about Elite was mismanaged. According to Hirschberg, "We chose to tell people right out of the gate that while the vast majority of features would be free, there would be a premium membership. A lot people thought we should have waited and show people what they get for the premium membership before talking about its existence. But we knew this question about whether it would be free would immediately be asked. We'd be put on the spot. We chose to be transparent and tell people our intentions from the beginning. The words 'Call of Duty' plus the word 'subscription' equals 'unleash blogger hell'."
As more details were revealed at Call of Duty XP, the first convention for the Call of Duty franchise, the angst was lessened, when it became clear much of the premium subscribership was mostly wrapped around a yearlong Season Pass for maps. PC gamers who feared that Elite was an Xbox Live Gold-style membership where players had to pay to play multiplayer online were mollified by the fact it wasn't the case.
However, Hirschberg also pointed out the disastrous server issues during launch as another problem that should have been avoided. "We had some technological stumbles at launch and that frustrated some of our fans. We're still making that right," Hirschberg lamented, then added, "But if we only talk about the things that go as planned then we miss some of the most valuable dialogue that can come out of this."
Gamers can expect the Call of Duty game launches.to debut late in 2012 when the next