Activision opted not to use a subscription-based model for Call of Duty multiplayer, and analyst Michael Pachter says that was a mistake.
In speaking at the Digital Game Monetization Summit in San Francisco (and as reported by GamesIndustry International ), the Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst said Activision "trained" their audience but didn't capitalize:
"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."
He compared Call of Duty to Activision's other cash juggernaut, World of Warcraft , saying that while the WoW players are forking over $180/year, the CoD players only have to pay 1/3 that amount. In short, Pachter says "this multiplayer thing being free was a mistake." He finished by saying that Activision may not repeat that mistake with its new title from Halo developer Bungie. So maybe you should all expect a subscription model for that one, if you're interested in playing.
Oh, and Pachter predicted that Activision will buy Take-Two Interactive, so…yeah, get ready for that.