Activision Looking at CoD Subscription Model A loss in its fiscal fourth quarter has got the company thinking. By Mike Sharkey.
It appears Activision Blizzard is considering a potentially controversial new way to generate revenue. During yesterday's quarterly conference call, CEO Bobby Kotick hinted that the Call of Duty franchise will head the way of World of Warcraft and become subscription-based.
Activision Blizzard acts as the publisher of the Call of Duty games developed alternately by Infinity Ward and Treyarch. Though the franchise's latest installment, Modern Warfare 2, was the best-selling videogame of 2009 and generated more than $1 billion in revenue according to the NPD Group, Activision Blizzard still reported a $286 million loss in its fiscal fourth quarter. The loss was due, in large part, to the bottom falling out of the Guitar Hero franchise.
Conversely, Blizzard's World of Warcraft franchise continues to be a cash cow for Activision, raking in $15 subscription fees from a reported 11.5 million people every month.
Put the pieces together and you can understand the company's thinking: a financial loss, an enormously popular franchise, and a proven subscription model that generates a river of revenue. Kotick described the future of Call of Duty this way:
If you think about the success that we've had in other product categories on subscription, you can get a sense of the direction that we want to take that franchise. World of Call of Duty? Subscription fees on the game's online multiplayer? Kotick had nothing else to say on the matter, though the company did confirm that the next installment in the series is due out late this year.
2. "I don't think so...WoW worked...just implement updates to the IW games" In response to Reply # 1
Trip shouldn't make CoD anymore and give it all to infinity ward. It could work...it also could set a trend for other games....then and only then it could backfire. WoW has people playing it all the time.
3. "Here's the thing, though" In response to Reply # 2
WoW entered into a market where the subscription model was already a staple; where every game it had to compete against had a similar model and strategy. Sure, it came to dominate that field. But the demographic was already used to that way of doing, and it's not like they could turn to another game for a similar experience without a subscription.
Call of Duty is one of many FPS games in military settings. Even if I were a diehard fan of the franchise, I'd have a real decision to make in the choice between continuing on with my series and paying money each month to play versus choosing another, very similar game, with no recurring costs...
Shit, I could still play Counter-Strike for free, or go back and play any of the earlier Call of Duty games, and get a similar experience at a fraction of the cost.
A WoW addict, doesn't really have that option.
Of course, I can only speak for myself, and extrapolate on people with similar sensibilities... but that's why I wouldn't buy into this.
5. "If they could guarantee better servers" In response to Reply # 4
then I might be down for that. This host migration shit is kinda bullshit. However with the cash they have hauled in I don't see why some of that cash can't be funneled into improving the servers. Corporate greed is nothing new player.