news\ Dec 7, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Pachter: Call of Duty 'a failure' for not charging a monthly subscription


Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 may have grossed over $1 billion in just 15 days, but industry analyst Michael Pachter has called Activision's blockbuster franchise a "failure."

"Call of Duty, I'm calling it a failure," Pachter said at the Digital Game Monetization Summit (via). That's quite a shot at a franchise that has shown considerable success long-term. In fact, life-to-date sales for the Call of Duty franchise exceeded worldwide theatrical box office receipts for Harry Potter and Star Wars, two of the most successful movie franchise of all time. So how can you call a franchise, which has generated so much in revenue over the past few years, a failure?

According to Pacther, Activision's failure to no implement a subscription-based model for Call of Duty's multiplayer is a serious mistake.

"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."

Pacther likened Call of Duty to another of Activision series, World of Warcraft. Though different in genre, the concept is basically the same. Both games provide hours on hours of content to gamers. World of Warcraft, however, charges monthly for their content.

"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."

Pachter believes Activision won't make the same mistake twice. Pachter predicted that the multiplayer component of Destiny, the rumored project from former Halo developer Bungie Studios, will be subscription-based. "Activision's going to try it, because they're greedy pigs, and their bold," he concluded.

Will a subscription-based game on consoles work out? With gamers on Xbox 360 already paying for Xbox LIVE, I have a hard time believing they'll pay an extra $10-$15 a month just to play multiplayer.Would you pay monthly to play Call of Duty's, or any other game's, multiplayer? 

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