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Call of Duty Elite: All the details from Los Angeles

Activision has finally answered the burning question: how much will Call of Duty Elite cost, and what do I get for my hard-earned moolah?

At a pre-Call of Duty XP press event attended by VG247's Steph Nunneley in Los Angeles last night, Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg lifted the lid on the numbers: Call of Duty Elite's premium subscription service will set US players back $49.95 per year.

"This will cost you around $5 a month, something you probably spent on Starbucks this morning," he joked during the presentation.

Larry Hyrb, also know as Major Nelson, took the opportunity to announce a new, Modern Warfare-themed hardware bundle: a 350 GB Xbox 360 elite with "Modern Warfare styling" and two controllers as well, via a pre-recorded session.

The new console will be available for order from today, along with the Hardened Edition of Modern Warfare 3, which includes a year's premium subscription to Elite.

Premium Features
"Keep in mind that all of the features you see in Call of Duty Elite are free: Personal leaders boards, stat tracking, weapon analysis, 30-second HD video uploads, weapon perk sharing, screen shot sharing, even more," Infinity Ward community manager Robert Bowling pointed out.

The annual subscription fee is value-added: It represents a saving of around $10 per year on the basic cost of DLC packs for Modern Warfare 3, but also includes a number of features inaccessible to free members.

One such bonus is advanced clan support. Clans with premium subscriptions will be able to go through a levelling process similar to that of individual multiplayer, unlocking new ranks, perks and tiers of competition.

Although all Elite members can upload 30-second HD videos, premium members will have eight times the storage space available - and access to training from some of the best players in the world.

"We're talking high value HD videos dissecting every weapon and every map," Hirshberg said.

"Deeper analysis than you can get anywhere else. This will constantly be updated with new content."

DLC and Competitions

First MW3 multiplayer trailer

Activision has 20 DLC packs planned for Modern Warfare 3, and premium subscribers will receive a piece each month, instead of in the quarterly staggered packs available from console store fronts. And we're not just talking map packs, either:

"Our players have been asking for more than maps. We will be delivering new maps, spec ops missions, new game modes, and more," Hirshberg said.

"Members will also be able to participate in daily competitions for both real and virtual prizes - everything from badges and trophies to ipads and jeeps."

Competitions will cater to all levels of skill, and will be refereed live 27 hours a day.

Video Content
One of the most unusual features of Elite is its video service, delivering regular short films to fans.

Activision wouldn't show any footage to the assembled press ahead of Modern Warfare 3's debut this afternoon, but did talk a little about scheduled shows.

Arrested Development's Jason Bateman and Will Arnett will host Noobtube, a compilation of the best user-created videos complete with narrated smack talk.

Black Hawk Down and Bladerunner director Ridley Scott is on board with a show called Friday Night Fights, in which real world rivalries will be played out in-game - firefighter versus police, democrat versus republican, and so on.

Mission Statement
Hirschberg said Activision had three goals in mind with the new service.

"We didn't want to take anything away from our fans - if you like playing Call of Duty's Specs Ops and the single player and buying DLC throughout the year at your discretion, you can still do that all of that will still exist just as it always has," he reassured.

"The second thing we wanted to do was to make the experience better by expanding the value for every Call of Duty player by introducing what we feel is the best online service free to all players, which helps you play together better.

"Finally, we wanted to present a premium membership to raise the bar for our very passionate multiplayer gamers who have told us they want to take their CoD experience even further.

"They want things that have never been done before and can't be done anywhere else."

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