Analyst: Black Ops may offer online subscriptions

Does anyone care about single-player in mainstream first-person shooters any more? All I’m ever hearing is “online multiplayer this” and “lag free server that”. And it seems that Activision might be about to focus more on the online multiplayer service in their recent release, Call of Duty: Black Ops.

In a similar way to MMORPGs, Activision could be offering an online subscription service to their legions of online players. This news comes from industry analyst Michael Pachter, who told Industry Gamers he feels Activision is just biding its time where online multiplayer fees are concerned.

“Activision apparently worried that announcing multiplayer subscriptions before the launch of Black Ops would hurt sales,” he said.

“It’s likely that around 60 – 70% of the people who buy Black Ops do so to play online multiplayer, and a greater number of the first week purchasers.

“Even if Activision retained fully free online multiplayer, the mere mention of a ‘premium’ subscription service will tick off some consumers, and there might have been a backlash at the precise time that they needed to set records. They decided not to take that risk.”

Pachter doesn’t have inside information on this, he freely admits, but does believe he knows how Activision may go about it. The plan includes mention of special weapons, armour, vehicles and more for those that pay a regular fee, as well as tournaments, map packs and new game modes. Pachter also reckons that Activision will be looking into giving players an “all access pass” that could apply to other games such as WoW and Starcraft II.

While nothing has been confirmed by Activision yet, it’s an idea that a gaming publisher was going to construct sooner or later. I’ll wait until the right game comes along before I sign my name in blood, however.