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A Shit Storm is Coming

16
July
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Well gamers it was bound to happen. Game companies look in every corner and niche to generate as much revenue from a single title as possible. It has been hinted at for years that game companies would eventually start charging for their online gameplay. If Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter is right, that day could be coming sooner then gamers want.

According to Pachter, games sales are down because players are still logging a significant amount of time in only a handful of older titles. "We estimate that a total of 12 million consumers are playing Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 for an average of 10 hours per week on the two platforms' respective networks, and the continued enjoyment of this game (along with an estimated 6 million Halo online players, 3 million EA Sports players, and 5 million players playing other games, such as Battlefield, Red Dead Redemption, Left 4 Dead and Grand Theft Auto) has sucked the available time away from what otherwise would be spent playing newly purchased games," he said.

Pachter believes that Activsion will be the ones to make the first move come November with the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops. He didn?t know if Activision would install a monthly subscription, tournament entry fees, micro transactions, or a combo of all three. However, he believes eventually the business model will follow that of World of Warcraft (monthly subscription). Patcher also mentioned that most single player campaigns are under 30 hours, where ?133 million units of equivalent gameplay have been spent (so far playing Call of Duty online.? Even more shocking is the 4 billion combined hours gamers have spent on COD: MW 2 (online) since it launched. Since Activision only sees revenue from the twenty-million units sold and eight million map packs, it would only make sense for them to try and generate revenue elsewhere.

When Activision and Vivendi Games merged and became Activision Blizzard in 2007, it was only a small amount of time before an Activision executive would figure out a major secret. Blizzard has over 10 million people paying $15 a month to play a game?shhhh don?t tell anyone. The rationale for an MMORPG to charge a monthly fee is the development time and cost put into game. Activision has proven that they can bang out a Call of Duty title at least once a year (from multiple studios). So, while they will definitely make a great amount of money, because gamers will pay the multiplayer fee, the number of people who purchase the title will decrease, and will continue to do so. The question is how much will the number of purchasers decrease? I?ve already stated they should stop making the COD franchise, anyone else with me now?

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