Michael Pachter, research analyst at Wedbush Securities, provided the opening speech at the Digital Game Monetization Summit yesterday. In his speech, he made several bold claims as Mr. Pachter is wont to do, one being that he believes Call of Duty is failure due to the fact that Activision doesn't charge fees for the multiplayer.
"Call of Duty, I'm calling it a failure," Pachter said. "I know the game sells billions of dollars. Activision did a bad thing with Call of Duty from a profit perspective. 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. 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? 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.”
One could argue that Activision has attempted this model before with the Call of Duty Elite program, not to mention all of the DLC packs they sell for $15 a pop (and sell 2-4 million of just map packs, by the way).
The funniest part of this whole tirade was that at the end, after he basically scolded Activision for not charging for multiplayer, he said the following:
"Prediction: The next Bungie game will be single-player only; the multiplayer aspect of that game will be subscription only. Activision's going to try it, because they're greedy pigs, and they're bold.”
First they're failures for not charging a subscription for CoD multiplayer, and then they'll be greedy pigs if they do? Sounds to me like Activision is damned if they do, damned if they don't in Pachter's eyes. In the gamers eyes, I bet they'll be damned if they do, but plenty of people will cough up such a subscription, at least for a few months.