Call of Duty multiplayer will always be free. That’s according the head of Activision Publishing, Eric Hirshberg, who refuted claims made by Michael Pachter that Activision would roll out premium subscriptions for online play. Supposedly Activision is waiting until the backlash will have less of an effect from the current sales of Black Ops.
The publisher is exploring new ways to better monetise the genre leading first person shooter series, and persistent rumours have suggested online subscription charges will be introduced, but that isn’t on the agenda, ever, according to Hirshberg. Hirshberg’s comments came after Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter told IndustryGamers earlier this month that he could see Activision eventually charging gamers to play online multiplayer in its Call of Duty titles. He reportedly told the gaming publication that he believed Activision would offer “a $5 per month subscription to Black Ops that includes all virtual items for free, plus access to all map packs released as long as the player remains active.”
But such a plan is something that Hirshberg absolutely rejects. And he once again reiterated to IndustryGamers that Activision would not get into the business of charging for multiplayer in Call of Duty. “At the end of the day, all I’m trying to get across is I can unequivocally say we will never, ever charge for the multiplayer.”
These comments are likely to generate significant skepticism, but keep in mind that it’s incredibly unlikely that Activision’s decision is born of altruism. Multiplayer accounts for a large part of Call of Duty’s popularity, so Activision is going to be reluctant to do anything to rock the boat, even if it will supposedly make the company more money.