IS CALL OF DUTY ELITE PREMIUM SUBSCRIPTION A FAIR DEAL?

When Activision originally announced their new Call of Duty Elite premium subscription package for £34.99 or $49.99 a year (or included in Modern Warfare 3‘s top-end Hardened Edition), I originally responded with “What a bloody rip off” and walked away thinking that once again, Activision were milking their cash cow for all it’s worth. They seem intent on squeezing every last drop from the world’s best selling game, whilst fleecing gamers in the process. Once I had time to calm down and look under the bonnet to see exactly what was on offer, I hate to admit that actually the deal could actually end up saving you money if MW3 is your weapon of choice.

A quick look at the FAQ reveals the following: “The annual subscription to Call of Duty Elite is an all-inclusive membership, and that means you get Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 downloadable content, including all of the MW3 map packs and more as part of your premium membership. No need to buy additional DLC.”

Previous Call of Duty games released, on average, four map packs during their life cycle. If you are the kind of CoD Fan that would buy all of these maps, the Elite Package would actually be considerably better value than buying them separately throughout the year.

There is certainly a bittersweet pill to swallow here, as the Elite members will get their hands a new batch of content every month first, rather than waiting for the usual quarterly release of multiplayer maps, extra spec ops missions and new game modes. This means that non subscribers could end up of the pace and playing catch-up, which in effect could be seen as forcing them to subscribe to get the most out of the game.

Value for money or pointless willy waving?

Personally, I am of the belief that Activision are marketing the Elite Premium subscription all wrong. Nobody gives a rat’s ass about gold clan tags, premium theatre, groups, Elite TV and various other willy waving statistic boards. The majority of people are unaware that you actually receive all MW3 DLC, which will be around twenty items and released monthly so you will always have something new in the game. If you don’t like the game, then this will never appeal to you, but for a Call of Duty regular; this is genuinely a good deal.

Although Elite Premium and EA Sports Season tickets are receiving growing criticism by offering their own services, they are arguably better value than paying Microsoft £40 Xbox Live for a marketplace to buy more things. Especially considering that if you were only ever playing FIFA online on your Xbox, which uses EA’s own servers, you have to ask: “What am I paying Microsoft for?”

The world is caught in the middle of a financial crisis and everyone, more than ever before, is having to watch what they spend. If you are one of the gamers out there who have paid  £40 to Microsoft for Xbox Live, £40 for a game and then £35 for an exclusive club, then you have just blown £115 to play one game on a console. How many people can actually afford to do this? As people begin to get more thrifty, you can see on many gaming forums that there is a growing voice of people calling Activision greedy, as they are tired of playing the same game each year.

Franchise down… Repeat, we have a franchise down.

Even hardcore CoD fans seem to be getting more excited about the release of Battlefield 3, and maybe it’s not about CoD refusing to change or even the fact Battlefield 3 has Jet Fighters; but people are simply getting tired of Activision’s greed and are starting to make a stand.

So as the haters begin to defect from CoD, the irony is that they could quite easily end up spending more anyway, as they will have to pay for individual map packs for Battlefield over a year. Gamers will never win, and maybe that’s what attracts us all; the constant challenge and thrill of the chase.

That said, if your life is not complete without CoD MW3 and all of the map packs for the next 12 months, then the Elite premium subscription package is officially a good deal, and don’t let anyone tell you different.

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