Call of Duty getting 'innovative new digital platform'

Activision founding all-new Beachhead studio to develop "special services" for popular shooter; CEO compares it to Battle.net.

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For months, analysts have been predicting that Activision would find some way to insert a subscription model of sorts into Call of Duty. Although Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg adamantly denied that the company would ever charge for the game's online modes, rumors persisted that the company would be adding some sort of premium tier with extra features a la PlayStation Plus.

Call of Duty's online experience is getting an
Call of Duty's online experience is getting an "innovative new digital platform," says Activision.

Today came the news that something is afoot with Call of Duty's online presence. In a conference call with analysts after today's earnings report, Activision executives announced the formation of an internal studio, Beachhead, to create an all-new online platform for the shooter series.

"Our leadership in online entertainment technology continues to grow, as illustrated by our announcement today of our studio called Beachhead, which is focused solely on the development of an innovative new digital platform and special services for our Call of Duty community," said Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. "We believe we are best positioned today to take advantage of retail and digital distribution channels that can collectively deliver content to more players in more places and with better economics than ever before."

He continued, "We've also leveraged our internal platforms to offer audiences choice and convenience through the provision of direct distribution of Blizzard games. We expect to enhance the Call of Duty experience in similar ways with our new digital platform from Beachhead."

Later in the call, Hirshberg expanded on Kotick's comments, saying, "Beachhead will create the best-in-class online community, exclusive content, and a suite of services for our Call of Duty fans to supercharge the online gaming experience like never before. The platform will support in-game integration and bring online experiences and console play together for the first time. The platform has been in development for over a year, and we're very excited about the increased value it can bring to the community."

Little else is known about the Call of Duty online platform, and Activision executives aren't expounding on the matter. When asked directly by analysts on whether Beachhead's platform would be subscription based, Activision CFO and COO Thomas Tippl declined comment.

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