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Nuclear Muffin
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(11-24-2010, 11:15 AM)
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I just noticed a nice eye opening article, showcasing an interview with Bobby Kotick, that a fellow GAF member posted in the thread about how Activision would never charge for COD multiplayer and I just realised something. Eric Hirshberg has said that they will never charge a subscription fee to COD users because they are already paying a subscription fee to Activision through Xbox Live!

Back in June, Kotick commented saying that he wanted to release a COD game that charged a subscription http://www.next-gen.biz/news/kotick-...orrow%E2%80%9D



June 2010

"I would have Call Of Duty be an online subscription service tomorrow,” he replied (via *****). “When you think about what the audience's interests are and how you could really satisfy bigger audiences with more inspired, creative opportunities, I would love to see us have an online Call Of Duty world. I think our players would just have so much of a more compelling experience.

Then again in July, he commented how Activision wasn't getting a portion of the Xbox Live fees, despite driving 60% of their traffic http://www.next-gen.biz/news/kotick-...box-live-model



July 2010

“We’ve heard that 60 per cent of [Microsoft’s] subscribers are principally on Live because of Call Of Duty,” Kotick said. “We don’t really participate financially in that income stream. We would really like to be able to provide much more value to those millions of players playing on Live, but it’s not our network.”

Now the XBL $10 price hike was announced in August and implemented on November 1st http://majornelson.com/archive/2010/...scription.aspx

And following this, I just read this Kotick interview here - released on November 12th that brings this theory to light...



November 12 2010 http://www.joystiq.com/2010/11/12/bo...-treyarch-inf/

"You know, Call of Duty games probably represent more than 50% of the total Xbox Live traffic," Bobby Kotick told me when I asked him about Microsoft's recent $10 Xbox Live price hike. You see, Activision is tasked with monetizing an immensely popular online game through a traditional – and inflexible – system: a retail disc played in a video game console controlled by another company. And despite a constant refrain of Call of Duty subscription rumors, the only subscription you may pay to play it online isn't to Activision at all; it's to Microsoft.

"I think the thing that sometimes even I don't fully appreciate – and I think I have a greater appreciation for it today, having spent a lot of time up with Microsoft recently – but they invest billions of dollars in the Live platform. Billing, credit collection, things like foreign currency conversion, being able to manage point systems. All of that is extremely expensive to manage and maintain." Of course, this is all to say that it deserves something, but how do Activision and its customers factor into Microsoft's agenda?

"Because of our Blizzard experience we have an incredible understanding of how important the provision of appropriate customer service is," Kotick said, citing 2,500 World of Warcraft customer service employees for the US and Europe alone. "What we'd like to ideally see is that the investment in the subscription fees going towards the provision of a higher level of customer service [...] to see some portion of the subscription fees go towards game enhancement." Activision does enjoy a "very modest amount of the subscription fees," Kotick told us, but he's more interested in seeing any cost increase in the service go towards "directly benefitting the Call of Duty players."

So, with $60 a year out the door for many Call of Duty players – that would be those playing on Xbox 360, as opposed to PC or PlayStation 3 – it's already a significant $5 a month expense and Activision has only snagged a "modest amount" of that $5.

So Activision are now receiving a portion of the XBL fees. Prior to June, they weren't receiving anything and at some point between June-November, they have started receiving a "very modest amount of the subscription fees". Seems rather conveniently timed with the XBL $10 price hike on the 1st of November!

This is also conveniently timed with Activision's sudden change of heart in today's article from the other thread where Eric Hirshberg said that Activision will never charge for online multiplayer...



November 24 2010

Speaking to IndustryGamers as part of an in-depth interview on the business (stay tuned for more next week), Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg told us that charging for multiplayer simply just won't be happening - not now, not ever. "Are we going to be charging for multiplayer? The answer is no. The experience you have out of the box, connecting with the online community to play Call of Duty is absolutely integral to the experience and we'll never charge for that. It's not going to be something we'll attempt to monetize; it's part of the package," Hirshberg stressed.

Further commenting on Pachter's assertion about a variety of online subscriptions, he continued, "Nothing we or anyone else tries is going to work if it doesn't have tremendous value for people and add a tremendous value to the gaming experience. He's probably looking at meta-trends in the world and in culture about online services and new ways things should be monetized from Netflix to cloud-based computing. So there are certainly a lot of behavioral shifts towards long-standing online relationships... But at the end of the day, all I'm trying to get across is I can unequivocally say we will never, ever charge for the multiplayer."

So if my theory is sound, Activision is directly responsible for the XBL price hike and every single XBL subscriber is subsidising Activision, even if you have never bought a single one of their games.

So what are your thoughts on the matter?
Last edited by Nuclear Muffin; 11-24-2010 at 12:43 PM.
Prophet Steve
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(11-24-2010, 11:16 AM)
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Oh boy.
Hot Coldman
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(11-24-2010, 11:18 AM)
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VERY glad I got a PS3 now :lol
Wolves Evolve
Just visiting Planet Fuck
(11-24-2010, 11:19 AM)
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Jesus Christ. Good work.

Nuclear Muffin, hats off.
Diablohead
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(11-24-2010, 11:20 AM)
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Activision are more in bed with Microsoft then EA are with their control over xbox live :/ fuck sake.
Branduil
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(11-24-2010, 11:20 AM)
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We wouldn't have this problem if people weren't willing to pay for online gaming in the first place.
Nuclear Muffin
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(11-24-2010, 11:20 AM)
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Originally Posted by Green Scar

VERY glad I got a PS3 now :lol

Speaking of which, I wonder if Activision are receiving a portion of Sony's Playstation Plus subscription fees? (maybe pressure from Activision to receive payment for driving traffic was part of the reason why it was launched in the first place? - just a thought! I'm not accusing anyone of anything, just an off the cuff thought!)
BGBW
Maturity, bitches.
(11-24-2010, 11:21 AM)
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I'm going to predict how this thread may turn out:

Originally Posted by PC GAF

Paying for online :lol

It's kind of funny when you consider UK ISPs took the opposite approach and wanted BBC to pay them for the increase in traffic.

To be fair, it's like tax. You pay it even if you don't benefit from every service.
Hot Coldman
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(11-24-2010, 11:22 AM)
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Originally Posted by Nuclear Muffin

Speaking of which, I wonder if Activision are receiving a portion of Sony's Playstation Plus subscription fees? (maybe pressure from Activision to receive payment for driving traffic was part of the reason why it was launched in the first place? - just a thought! I'm not accusing anyone of anything, just an off the cuff thought!)

I doubt that. Given that PS3 Black Ops players have to wait for DLC, it seems unlikely that Sony would give Activision the time of day when it comes to subscription fees.
-Eddman-
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(11-24-2010, 11:22 AM)
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At first, it may sound like typical tin foil hat conspiracies, but the recent interviews give some credibility to the issue. Activision is scary indeed.
Polk
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(11-24-2010, 11:22 AM)

Originally Posted by Nuclear Muffin

Speaking of which, I wonder if Activision are receiving a portion of Sony's Playstation Plus subscription fees? (maybe pressure from Activision to receive payment for driving traffic was part of the reason why it was launched in the first place? - just a thought! I'm not accusing anyone of anything, just an off the cuff thought!)

Why would they? Activision is releasing map packs for COD early on 360 "thanks" to this deal.
Nasreddin
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(11-24-2010, 11:23 AM)
DetectiveGAF strikes again. Great observation, Nuclear Muffin!
TheOddOne
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(11-24-2010, 11:25 AM)
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Originally Posted by Polk

Why would they? Activision is releasing map packs for COD early on 360 "thanks" to this deal.

This deal goes till 2013, so they nabbed the map packs for soon-to-be-released COD's.
Firestorm
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(11-24-2010, 11:28 AM)
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Someone want to investigate this in the off chance it's actually true?
Klepek or someone else with the drive to actually investigate?

Because if this is true and I hadn't abused promotions to get my Live free, I'd be raging right now.
Jexhius
In every age, in every place,
the deeds of men remain
the same
(11-24-2010, 11:30 AM)
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Originally Posted by Branduil

We wouldn't have this problem if people weren't willing to pay for online gaming in the first place.

Exactly, and it isn't going to go away either. Microsoft already know that a large amount of people don't even have their 360's set up to play online.

Those that do are already 'core' and probably more likely to pay out money for the service. They're also likely to be the same folks who'll play COD for months on end so they're going to keep their subscription up to date.
-Eddman-
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(11-24-2010, 11:32 AM)
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Originally Posted by Firestorm

Because if this is true and I hadn't abused promotions to get my Live free, I'd be raging right now.

:lol That sounded like a Homer Simpson or Duckman phrase.
Carl
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(11-24-2010, 11:32 AM)
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Came in expecting lolz, but it actually makes sense given the different articles on the matter :/
sweetvar26
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(11-24-2010, 11:32 AM)
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This won't end well.
ZealousD
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(11-24-2010, 11:36 AM)
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Nuclear Muffin
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(11-24-2010, 11:36 AM)
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Assuming that this is true and that Activision are receiving the full $10 from the increase, this is also potentially much more lucrative than charging players for a subscription directly; since they would be effectively receiving $10 from every single XBL user, rather than just the COD userbase (plus this also avoids the potential drop in the number of COD players that would no doubt come from putting a direct charge on the user)

This also makes the sale of map packs more palletable for COD players, since they would probably be less likely to pay for map packs if they were already being visibly charged fees for online multiplayer.
Azure Phoenix
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(11-24-2010, 11:38 AM)
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Oh well, I guess I'll never be paying for Xbox Live in future - 48 hour trial cards will suffice.
Sean
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(11-24-2010, 11:39 AM)
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Originally Posted by Firestorm

Someone want to investigate this in the off chance it's actually true?
Klepek or someone else with the drive to actually investigate?

Because if this is true and I hadn't abused promotions to get my Live free, I'd be raging right now.

Seems like the OP did all the investigation work already.

July - Kotick says majority of Live users play CoD and Activision gets no cut of subscription fees, he wants it
August - Microsoft announces XBL price hike
November - XBL price hike goes into effect (a week before Black Ops release)
November 12 - Kotick now says they get a cut of subscription fees

Everything matches up too well for it to be a coincidence. I doubt we'll get an official statement from MS/Activision either.
TheOddOne
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(11-24-2010, 11:40 AM)
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Originally Posted by Nuclear Muffin

Assuming that this is true and that Activision are receiving the full $10 from the increase, this is also potentially much more lucrative than charging players for a subscription directly; since they would be effectively receiving $10 from every single XBL user, rather than just the COD userbase (plus this also avoids the potential drop in the number of COD players that would no doubt come from putting a direct charge on the user)

This also makes the sale of map packs more palletable for COD players, since they would probably be less likely to pay for map packs if they were already being visibly charged fees for online multiplayer.

No, leaving out the PS3/PC crowd would be like leaving money on the table.

Activision likes money, so expect the subscription based to come soon.
TheChewyWaffles
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(11-24-2010, 11:40 AM)
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Maybe they're getting a cut from any XBL player who plays COD or something.
SmokyDave
His head smashed in and his heart cut out and his liver removed and his bowels unplugged and his nostrils raped and his bottom burned off and his penis...
(11-24-2010, 11:43 AM)
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Sounds like a match made in heaven.
Nirolak
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(11-24-2010, 11:43 AM)
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Originally Posted by Nuclear Muffin

Assuming that this is true and that Activision are receiving the full $10 from the increase, this is also potentially much more lucrative than charging players for a subscription directly; since they would be effectively receiving $10 from every single XBL user, rather than just the COD userbase (plus this also avoids the potential drop in the number of COD players that would no doubt come from putting a direct charge on the user)

This also makes the sale of map packs more palletable for COD players, since they would probably be less likely to pay for map packs if they were already being visibly charged fees for online multiplayer.

It'd also help explain why Activision would be willing to put out such a horrid PS3 port of Black Ops, if they get money every time a new person signs up for Xbox Live.
Diablohead
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(11-24-2010, 11:44 AM)
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Originally Posted by ZealousD

Is Bobby the one driving?
TheOddOne
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(11-24-2010, 11:44 AM)
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Originally Posted by Nirolak

It'd also help explain why Activision would be willing to put out such a horrid PS3 port of Black Ops, if they get money every time a new person signs up for Xbox Live.

That and including the PC online problems.
Raide
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(11-24-2010, 11:45 AM)
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So in some twisted way, are 360 players possibly paying extra which pays for PS3, PC and Wii players? Its all going to Activision in the end. :lol
Cosmo Clock 21
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(11-24-2010, 11:45 AM)
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Originally Posted by Sean

Seems like the OP did all the investigation work already.

July - Kotick says majority of Live users play CoD and Activision gets no cut of subscription fees, he wants it
August - Microsoft announces XBL price hike
November - XBL price hike goes into effect (a week before Black Ops release)
November 12 - Kotick now says they get a cut of subscription fees

Everything matches up too well for it to be a coincidence. I doubt we'll get an official statement from MS/Activision either.

Circumstantial evidence is just that -- until we get some Wikileaks-level mind-blowing documents from Microsoft stating "we give you money you give us COD" it's still speculation.

EDIT: I mean the OP is probably right, but you're not going to get very far in any official capacity without solid proof.
Last edited by Cosmo Clock 21; 11-24-2010 at 11:50 AM.
elektrixx
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(11-24-2010, 11:47 AM)
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Sounds real to me. In exchange for a cut of Xbox LIVE Gold, Activision gave them timed exclusivity on Call Of Duty DLC.

Sneaky bastards.
Mr. Luchador
I played NeoGAF Bingo and all I got was this tag
(11-24-2010, 11:48 AM)
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What about those of us who don't play COD? :\ BOOOOOOO!
johnFkennedy
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(11-24-2010, 11:48 AM)
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Originally Posted by Sean

Seems like the OP did all the investigation work already.

July - Kotick says majority of Live users play CoD and Activision gets no cut of subscription fees, he wants it
August - Microsoft announces XBL price hike
November - XBL price hike goes into effect (a week before Black Ops release)
November 12 - Kotick now says they get a cut of subscription fees

Everything matches up too well for it to be a coincidence. I doubt we'll get an official statement from MS/Activision either.

I think you underestimate the number of journalists that browse this forum. This has the potential to be a huge controversy and if it becomes one then Activision is bound to release a statement.
KevinCow
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(11-24-2010, 11:48 AM)
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So wait.

Instead of charging CoD players a subscription fee, they're basically charging everyone on the service the subscription fee regardless of whether they play CoD or not?

That's hilariously devious.
ZealousD
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(11-24-2010, 11:48 AM)
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Originally Posted by Diablohead

Is Bobby the one driving?

He learned to be a cunt at a very young age.
Negator
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(11-24-2010, 11:50 AM)
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Originally Posted by Cosmo Clock 21

Circumstantial evidence is just that -- until we get some Wikileaks-level mind-blowing documents from Microsoft stating "we give you money you give us COD" it's still speculation.

How can it be circumstantial evidence when Bobby Kotick himself said they are getting a $5 cut of Xbox Live subscription fees?
Cosmo Clock 21
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(11-24-2010, 11:51 AM)
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Can you prove the $5 cut is directly responsible for the XBL price hike?

Originally Posted by Chriswok

What about those of us who don't play COD? :\ BOOOOOOO!

Guess you'd better get your money's worth and buy COD then! Just as planned.
Class_A_Ninja
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(11-24-2010, 11:53 AM)
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Looks like some solid evidence via quotes. You don't just go from getting no money to getting some money without some shenanigans behind the scenes.

The price hike is obviously related. What sense does it make for MS to be selling live at fairly reduced rate before they hike up the price to $60? "Lock in your price now"...before we aren't getting all the money you spend in November.

It is a giant middle finger to anyone who subscribes to Live and doesn't play COD games. People who own (and maintain) an Xbox solely to play Halo now have to pay a COD fee.

"In 2002 it was strictly multiplayer gaming," said Xbox Live's Craig Davison in an interview with Gamasutra. "Now we get those Call of Duty map packs before anybody else does. We've got Gears and Halo, of course, as exclusives. We continue to get exclusives on the service as well. And we've gone from 400,000 members in our first year to 25 million."

Gamesradar

The first thing mentioned when discussing the increase is COD map packs. The language at E3 about the exclusive map packs until 2012 also seemed like Microsoft gave more of a shit about it than anyone else. Maybe it was how they justified giving into revenue sharing.
Last edited by Class_A_Ninja; 11-24-2010 at 12:01 PM.
ErnieMcCracken
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(11-24-2010, 11:53 AM)
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Kotick=Subscription based god
dose
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(11-24-2010, 11:53 AM)
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Surely other publishers will be pissed at this news too? They'll all be demanding a cut of the pie.
iammeiam
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(11-24-2010, 11:53 AM)
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Originally Posted by KevinCow

So wait.

Instead of charging CoD players a subscription fee, they're basically charging everyone on the service the subscription fee regardless of whether they play CoD or not?

That's hilariously devious.

So basically Live is in the process of turning into cable TV. Neat.
Dick Laurent
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(11-24-2010, 11:54 AM)
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I'm going to go ahead and say this is true. confirmed. because it's hilarious.
mf.luder
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(11-24-2010, 11:54 AM)
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Interesting read on my way to work. In the great white north, we already pay $60 for XBL so the increase doesn't mean the same to us. But to have an increase and call it something else and send those funds elsewhere, it's scary.

Is this a step in the wrong direction? Are publishers getting too much power? This is a different scenario but to me this seems similar to cell phone carriers neutering devices for their own network. We no longer receive the product in it's original, conceived state. It is modified.

This article spells out why we will see questionably lower quality games on the PS3.

What happens when bungie wants a piece of the pie?
Mr. Luchador
I played NeoGAF Bingo and all I got was this tag
(11-24-2010, 11:54 AM)
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Originally Posted by Cosmo Clock 21

Can you prove the $5 cut is directly responsible for the XBL price hike?


Guess you'd better get your money's worth and buy COD then! Just as planned.

:lol

By the Spirit of Mario, I'm starting to hate Activision.
TheOddOne
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(11-24-2010, 11:55 AM)
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''You want the next COD on the Xbox, Mattrick? Then fucking pay me.''
jorma
is now taking requests
(11-24-2010, 11:55 AM)

Originally Posted by Cosmo Clock 21

Circumstantial evidence is just that -- until we get some Wikileaks-level mind-blowing documents from Microsoft stating "we give you money you give us COD" it's still speculation.

EDIT: I mean the OP is probably right, but you're not going to get very far in any official capacity without solid proof.

All it should take is one question from a journalist.
itsgreen
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(11-24-2010, 11:56 AM)
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Originally Posted by Nuclear Muffin

Assuming that this is true and that Activision are receiving the full $10 from the increase, this is also potentially much more lucrative than charging players for a subscription directly; since they would be effectively receiving $10 from every single XBL user, rather than just the COD userbase (plus this also avoids the potential drop in the number of COD players that would no doubt come from putting a direct charge on the user)

This also makes the sale of map packs more palletable for COD players, since they would probably be less likely to pay for map packs if they were already being visibly charged fees for online multiplayer.

I doubt that Activision just gets 10$.

Don't forget that MS didn't inflate prices since 2002. So that is 8 years of no price hike (which should compound to like 25% (even more) increase in price, but they only did 20%)

It would be really bad practice for MS to just hand out money without some kind of performance aspect. For every X percentage of all xbox live hours played on Activision games they'll get an Y percentage amount of the revenue...

But I don't think it is unlikely some kind of system is in place. MS wants to retain value for their subscription, and there really isn't a lot of value if a) the competitor isn't doing it and b) you still have to pay an additional subscription to the publisher...
EatChildren
Chico is Quiet
(11-24-2010, 11:56 AM)
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Jexhius
In every age, in every place,
the deeds of men remain
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(11-24-2010, 11:56 AM)
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Originally Posted by KevinCow

So wait.

Instead of charging CoD players a subscription fee, they're basically charging everyone on the service the subscription fee regardless of whether they play CoD or not?

That's hilariously devious.

Kotick is a genius. If this is true, they even gone farther then the old EA ever did in pissing off gamers.
dwebo
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(11-24-2010, 11:57 AM)
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Originally Posted by elektrixx

Sounds real to me. In exchange for a cut of Xbox LIVE Gold, Activision gave them timed exclusivity on Call Of Duty DLC.

Sneaky bastards.

Except they announced the exclusivity deal back at E3 in June, before even the first quote in the OP. I suppose it could've already been worked out, and Kotick was just flapping about online subscriptions anyway.

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