In mid-June, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick sent shivers down the spines of Call of Duty players everywhere. When asked by the Wall Street Journal what one thing he would change about his company, he bluntly said, "I would have Call of Duty be an online subscription service tomorrow." That sentiment was echoed by Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter three weeks ago, when he predicted Activision would find a way to monetize the shooter series' wildly popular online modes.
Thankfully, the idea of charging for Call of Duty online multiplayer has been shot down--by none other than Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg. "Are we going to be charging for multiplayer? The answer is no," he told Industry Gamers this week. "The experience you have out of the box, connecting with the online community to play Call of Duty is absolutely integral to the experience, and we'll never charge for that. It's not going to be something we'll attempt to monetize; it's part of the package."
Hirshberg continued, "Nothing we or anyone else tries is going to work if it doesn't have tremendous value for people and add a tremendous value to the gaming experience. …There are certainly a lot of behavioral shifts toward long-standing online relationships… But at the end of the day, all I'm trying to get across is I can unequivocally say we will never, ever charge for the multiplayer."
Hirshberg's words will come as a comfort to the millions of gamers who paid a collective $650 million to pick up Call of Duty: Black Ops during its first five days on the market. The game boasted over 1 million players on Xbox Live within hours of its release, proving the popularity of its online competitive multiplayer mode.
For more on Call of Duty: Black Ops, read GameSpot's full review.