Call of Duty Elite Will Generate $50 Mil in 2012, Says Analyst

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

New premium online subscription service for the Activision games will go live November 8 with "Modern Warfare 3" launch.

LOS ANGELES – Activision Blizzard used its inaugural Call of Duty XP fan festival, which took place Sept 1-3, to detail the offerings of Beachhead Studios’ new Call of Duty Elite premium online subscription service. According to Michael Pachter, video game analyst for Webush Morgan Securities, the $50 Elite premium annual subscription should generate over $50 million in incremental digital revenue for Activision in 2012 alone.

“We expect the premium Elite membership plan to be very popular with Call of Duty 's hardcore gamers,” said Pachter. “Longer-term, we expect Activision to generate additional incremental Call of Duty revenue as the service grows in popularity.”

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In the near future, Pachter expects Activision to create an online store similar to Blizzard Entertainment’s auction houses in Diablo III. The auction houses act as an in-game Ebay, allowing players to create in-game content and then sell it for either real money or virtual currency.

The $50 annual subscription for Elite premium will offer gamers monthly downloadable content with new game modes, multiplayer maps and other content to extend the experience of Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops and the upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 from Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games. Also included will be exclusive Elite TV content from Hollywood creatives like Tony and Ridley Scott, who are working on “Friday Night Fights,” and Will Arnett and Jason Bateman, who are developing “n00b Tube!” and “Cocked Hammers”.

Approximately 8,000 die-hard Call of Duty fans have returned home, after experiencing the inaugural Call of Duty XP event at Raleigh Studios in Playa Vista. Pachter believes the event, which was sponsored by Microsoft, Jeep, Mountain Dew, Doritos, and others, cost Activision about $2 million. But that’s a drop in the bucket for what’s expected to be the biggest video game launch of all time come November when Modern Warfare 3 launches.

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“Call of Duty XP was a great idea,” said Pachter. “Activision will sell another $1.2 billion worth of Modern Warfare 3, including 20 million copies of the game in 2011 and another 5 million or so next year.”

One of the key focuses of XP 2011 was the unveiling of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer. Attendees were able to get hands-on time with five multiplayer maps from the upcoming game. Entertainment was provided by the Dropkick Murphys and Kanye West each evening.

Attendees paid $150 per ticket to the sold out event with all ticket sales going to the Call of Duty Endowment, which helps veterans find jobs. Activision is open to turning this event into an annual occurrence, which the company has done for years with BlizzCon.