Activision has discussed a subscription service around Call of Duty for years, but it's finally coming together this year with Call of Duty Elite. The initial response wasn't great, to say the least. People, perhaps rightfully, feared Activision would lock formerly free content behind a paywall.
Activision kept saying that wouldn't happen. This weekend at Call of Duty XP, a massive fan event held in Los Angeles, the publisher seemed to to have mostly made good on that promise.
Call of Duty Elite will set you back $49.99 a year, $10 less than a (new) Xbox Live Gold subscription. Purchasing all of the DLC for Call of Duty: Black Ops--four map packs at $15 each--would have cost you $60. In that sense, Activision's offering players a cheaper deal, they just need to pay up front. This is being called the "premium membership."
The free version of Call of Duty Elite features stat tracking ala Bungie.net, integration with Facebook, clan support and applications for your mobile devices.
The company said the DLC "season" for Modern Warfare 3 will be nine months long, with monthly DLC made available for premium members. Additionally, premium members gain access to daily competitions for both in-game and real-world prizes, a round-the-clock competition calendar, up to 24 minutes of recordable HD video and access to Call of Duty TV.
Call of Duty TV will feature original video content related to--you guessed it--Call of Duty. Ridley Scott Associates (yes, that Ridley Scott) is working on Friday Night Fights, where rivals fight it out, while actors Will Arnett and Jason Bateman collaborate for a program called n00b Tube. There's another one slated, Cocked Hammers, that we don't have any details about yet.
I don't usually end stories with a question, but are you going to signing up?