According to Wedbush Securities video game industry analyst Michael Pachter, you will be paying to play Call of Duty games in the future.
Yesterday, along with the dismantling on the Guitar Hero franchise, Activision announced the establishment of Project Beachhead, a studio focused on "on the delivery, digitally, of new, innovative Call of Duty content and services" that will "enable tens of millions of players around the world to continue to enjoy the experience that Call of Duty offers." While Activision didn't go into practical detail about what that will mean for gamers, Pachter says it all adds up to pay-for-play CoD.
"Project Beachhead absolutely is charging for multiplayer," Pachter said. "I'm certain to my core."
"Activision said they are working on 'value added, premium content that is exclusive,'" Pachter said. "How do you exclude people unless you do it on the basis of whether they pay or not? What are you going to have a bouncer in front of the club where you play the content? The only way it's exclusive is if it excludes non-paying members," Pachter added.
When asked how a pay-for-it Call of Duty game would work, Pachter offered this:
"The exclusive content could be pay as you go, or monthly. Let's say Project Beachhead comes up with 'Call of Duty Universe,' and it launches with Modern Warfare 3 and they say 'if you join here's all the exclusive content and exclusive weapons and we'll charge you a dollar a piece.' Or If they say, 'for $5 a month you get unlimited weapons and all the map packs we bring out for Modern Warfare in perpetuity,' a lot of people will say, 'I'm going to buy three map packs for 15 dollars anyway, so for $60 a year, I'm getting all the unlimited weapons and achievements,' so they could do that. I don't know if that's what they're going to choose to do. I'd say $5 a month is reasonable, though."
Pachter is watching for people to switch consoles if one "side" starts charging and the other remains free. "What will be interesting is to see if it spurs PS3 sales when people switch over," Pachter said.
So what do you guys think? Would you be willing to pay extra for Call of Duty content? Or would you feel more like you're being nickled and dimed to death if you have to pay for both Xbox Live and for Call of Duty?