On the same day that Activision and Bungie announced their 10-year, industry rattling partnership, Activision Blizzard senior vice president of worldwide studios Brian Ward made an appearance at today’s LA Games Conference in Los Angeles.
During a panel discussion in which Ward participated, one of the main topics was subscription-based business models. It’s long been rumored that Activision has been eyeing adopting some kind of pay-to-play model for its Call of Duty franchise, much to the dismay of a large number of gamers.
It’s no surprise then that this very topic cropped up during the panel. However, what was perhaps not expected was that Bungie’s name got thrown into the mix at one point, which understandably raised some eyebrows.
I asked Ward once the panel let out if he knew of any plans currently in the works that would bring such a business model to whatever franchise Bungie ends up delivering.
“I don’t [know] actually, because that would be out of my wheelhouse for the immediate term anyway, and secondly, I kind of gave up on the whole Bungie thing several months ago, because it took like a year to get it done, so I kind of checked out, and said, ‘Call me when you need me.’”
Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter, who appeared on the same panel with Ward, believes that Activision most certainly has some kind of subscription-based online experience planned for Bungie’s next big franchise.
“I think Bungie gets access to the whole multiplayer subscription model, because StarCraft is going to have that, and Call of Duty will ultimately have that. So Bungie will be there and that’s perfect because all this Halo online sh** will be Bungie action game online, and it will work,” said Pachter.
What makes Pachter’s assertion particularly interesting is that Bungie recently trademarked the name and logo for something called “Bungie Aerospace,” which covers “game software downloadable from a global computer network,” “personal computers and home video game consoles, software for use on mobile and cellular phones,” and of course “home pages and web sites.” Whether this ends up being the future destination/portal for Bungie’s future game endeavors and online services is anyone’s guess at this point, but it’s certainly worth a debate or two.
So when can we expect to hear more about Bungie and Activision’s big plans? “I really don’t know,” Ward admitted. “But E3’s such a major event I would guess, I would hope, that there would be something at E3.”
Oh, and about that "StarCraft subscription" talk, my guess is that Pachter was referencing the fact that the game will be sold in "installments" in Russia. There's been no talk of introducing a similiar model anywhere else as of yet.
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