There are a lot of loyal players
What happens when you tell people something they used to get for free now costs money? Apparently 1.5 million of those people will start paying.
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For a while, Activision has been wondering how it could better monetize its insanely popular Call of Duty franchise. Gamers spend $60 on the game and then pour in dozens or even hundreds of hours, making it a pretty good deal for gamers.
But Activision wanted to capitalize on the level of passion so many Call of Duty fanatics have, so it created Call of Duty Elite. For a monthly fee, members get access to exclusive content and online promotions. And, they are also first in line to get new downloadable content (DLC) packs.
Apparently that is enough incentive for a whopping 1.5 million people. That's generally considered a solid amount of people to have purchase a game, let alone purchase the full-priced game and then pay additional monthly fees on top of that.
It is still completely free to play Modern Warfare 3 online on the PS3, and for no additional fee if you're an Xbox Live Gold member. All the connectivity that gamers have come to expect from the franchise is still available at no additional cost.
It's the extra features, service, and accessibility that players are paying for. It's a similar structure to how Sony began monetizing its Playstation Network online platform, and is becoming an increasingly attractive way for developers to earn sustainable revenue on bandwidth-intensive products.