Michael Pachter: Activision Should Charge a Fee for Call of Duty Multiplayer

This is sure to put analyst Michael Pachter on someone's naughty list: Recently he said that Activision needs to start charging a fee for the multiplayer portion of its Call of Duty games. Wedbush Securities industry analyst Michael Pachter made his comments during the Digital Game Monetization Summit in San Francisco, California (as reported by GamesIndustry International). During his presentation he said that Activision made a serious mistake when it didn't implement a subscription-based model for Call of Duty multiplayer.

"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 went on to compare the Call of Duty franchise's multiplayer to another games that Activision does charge for – 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."

He goes on to say that Activision will not make the same mistake with the game Bungie is working on – currently codenamed Destiny, which he believes will be subscription-based:

"Activision's going to try it, because they're greedy pigs, and they're bold," he said.

Later in his talk he says that Activision will likely go into acquisition mode and try to buy a big publisher like Take-Two Interactive. He also said that the company should buy social games maker Zynga.

Finally, Pachter says that the Wii U will not see much support beyond what it had at launch from game developers:

"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."

Source: GameSpot

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  1. Imautobot says:

    Suppose they got away with charging $180 annually for CoD multiplayer (same price as Warcraft), if this kills the number of CoD buyers by 2/3s you're no longer making a profit.  But in truth, I'd like to see this happen, because I think it's a franchise that needs to die (along with Halo) so the industry and come up with more innovative games.  I've loved the First Person Shooter for years, but it needs to grow up.  Or perhaps I have grown up.


  2. Ashura01 says:

    Really? Hmm. Maybe I'm thinking of someone else then.

    Anywho, this is a really dumb Idea. I mean seriously? if MMO's have taught me anything over the past few years, Pay to play is dying out.

  3. Andrew Eisen says:

    Pachter doesn't hate Nintendo and I don't believe he's ever declared it was doomed so no.


    Andrew Eisen

  4. Ashura01 says:

    …..just to make sure. This is the guy that has a hate on for Nintendo and always gets it wrong when he declares the company is doomed?

  5. Haunted Quiche says:

    But with the amount they charge for the game, it would be ridiculous to charge further for multiplayer. They'd just massively lose out in sales to a rival that DOESN'T charge for MP.

  6. locopuyo says:

    I'm pretty sure their current model of paying $60 up front for both single player and multiplayer then $N for DLC is working better than any subscription model.  They made over a Billion dollars in revenue in 15 days.  If it required a subscription I know I wouldn't have bought it.

    If they want to make more they can just add more DLC.  Hats seem to sell pretty well.  

  7. jedidethfreak says:

    Just when I thought Pachter couldn't get stupider.  Does he not realize that many an MMO have been switching to Free-to-Play or downright CLOSING DOWN because a subscription model is no longer sustainable in modern gaming?

  8. Andrew Eisen says:

    I fear he's on the money with his Wii U comment.  Hope not but that does seem likely.


    Andrew Eisen

  9. ChuckLez says:

    umm, did he forget DLC that overall will cost more than the game itself as new?  Is COD still doing P2P (Peer to Peer) servers? Was wondering if they could legitimately put a price on them hosting dedicated servers.  Otherwise, alot of people will see through the "just because" fee they get issued.

    Also, as was already pointed out, subscription based games are dying out.  

  10. GrimCW says:

    the sad part is there are so many people that would actually pay for that…

    then again i think pacther is a little behind, pay to play games are dieing FAST, and the F2P model is far more profitable nowadays. and lately his assumptions have been rather off and just stupid.

    if Activision actually does try this now they're dooming themselves. To boot activision didn't "train" anyone on that. games that are CoD style had ALWAYS been free after initial purchase. And WoW is fast tracking for the F2P model at this point to, as i hear they've had yet another exodus since their new expansion came out.. not good.. many come in to see the new, more leave than returned… thats how EverQuest started to fall.

    the only new item on the block is this moronic built in ranking system and the unlocks tied to an online account… if not in a ladder, i truly don't care what rank i'm at, and a mode thats free of restrictions would be nice. not an all out, but an unranked all unlocked mode for the more casual/lazy players that just want to play for a bit and not have to live in game just to get the advantage the lifeless get.

  11. Dennis Stewart says:

    I don't play the CoD games, but I will never pay a subscription for games.  I buy a product once, and I will not pay for it again.

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