Activision needs to start charging for Call of Duty online, says Pachter

By Johnny Cullen, Friday, 16 July 2010 13:17 GMT

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Michael Pachter’s told IG that the industry needs to start thinking of adding subscription models to its multiplayer experiences – with Activision and Call of Duty leading the charge. No doubt big Bobbo will be pleased to hear that.

Following last night’s NPD results, which showed a 6 percent US sales drop year-over-year, the Wedbush Morgan analyst said it’s time publishers starting looking at plans to monetise online play.

“We think that the overall decline was due to a very large number of people playing multiplayer online games for free on PlayStation Network, and for an annual fee with unlimited game play on Xbox Live,” said Pachter.

“We estimate that a total of 12 million consumers are playing Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 for an average of 10 hours per week on the two platforms’ respective networks, and the continued enjoyment of this game (along with an estimated 6 million Halo online players, 3 million EA Sports players, and 5 million players playing other games, such as Battlefield, Red Dead Redemption, Left 4 Dead and Grand Theft Auto) has sucked the available time away from what otherwise would be spent playing newly purchased games.”

He added: “We see this as a continuing problem, and think that unless and until the publishers come up with a business model that appropriately captures the value created by the multiplayer experience, we are destined to see a migration of game playing away from packaged goods purchases and toward multiplayer online.

“We think that it is incumbent upon Activision, with the most popular multiplayer game, to take the first step to address monetization of multiplayer. It is too early to tell whether that will be a monthly subscription, tournament entry fees, microtransaction fees, or a combination of all three, but we expect to see the company take some action by year-end, when Call of Duty Black Ops launches.”

Modern Warfare 3 – £9.99 a month to play online, £30 for a yearly sub.

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