Pachter: Activision needs to charge for Call of Duty multiplayer

Industry analyst Michael Pachter says Activision made a mistake deciding to make multiplayer free for shooter series; predicts company will acquire Take-Two.


Wedbush Securities industry analyst Michael Pachter is no stranger to making bold claims, and now he has made another. Speaking during the Digital Game Monetization Summit in San Francisco, California (reported by GamesIndustry International), Pachter said Activision made a serious mistake when it decided to not use a subscription-based model for Call of Duty multiplayer.

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"I know the game sells billions of dollars. Activision did a bad thing with Call of Duty from a profit perspective," Pachter said. "They trained gamers that you can buy a game and play it all year, ten hours a week, forever, and you never have to pay again. You just wait for the next Call of Duty. I promise you there are plenty of people, numbering in the millions, who play one game, which is Call of Duty, and they never stop."

Pachter then compared Call of Duty to Activision's other juggernaut series: World of Warcraft.

"That's just like the people who play World of Warcraft and never stop, yet the World of Warcraft guys are paying $180 a year, and the Call of Duty guys are paying $60. So who's got a better model?" he said. "This multiplayer thing being free was a mistake. I don't think anybody ever envisioned it would be this big. It's a mistake because it keeps those people from buying and playing other games."

Activision is unlikely to repeat that "mistake" with its new game from Halo developer Bungie Studios, Pachter said. The industry diviner predicted that the multiplayer component of this game, rumored to be titled Destiny, will be subscription-based. "Activision's going to try it, because they're greedy pigs, and they're bold," he said.

Elsewhere during his talk, Pachter shared some biting words about Nintendo's just-launched Wii U.

"I think you're going to see now with the Wii U, notwithstanding its early launch support, nobody's going to support it," Pachter predicted. "I don't think we're going to see every game on the Wii U next year. I think when next-gen consoles come out they're going to be better than the Wii U."

Lastly, Pachter predicted that acquisitions are on the horizon for Activision. He said the publisher is likely to go after Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two first because "that fits in very nicely." He also said Activision "should" buy social game studio Zynga, though Pachter said he does not think Zynga CEO Mark Pincus will sell.

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