How do you make the community that you built around your multi-player game system stop playing it and go hang out on your social network instead?
You don’t, or so Call of Duty publisher Activision has decided. They’re putting their online statistics service, Call of Duty: Elite, to sleep on Friday, granting extra experience points (XP) to players who’ve logged in to the network recently.
Arguably one of the most successful franchises in gaming history, Call of Duty has always expanded its reach. With 2007’s fourth installment, it created groundbreaking multi-player campaigns that later evolved into fully online components which tapped into the culture of MMORPGs. The franchise has seen live esports tournaments and experimented with YouTube streaming, as well as creative endings to its player campaigns.
Call of Duty: Elite was intended to be the statistics warehouse and one-stop social network for the franchise’s various iterations. Instead, for its latest release, October’s Call of Duty: Ghosts, members got in-game statistics management and a new app-based networking system.
“We’ve taken all the key learnings and fan feedback to create the Call of Duty® app for Call of Duty®: Ghosts, which takes some of the best and most popular features of Call of Duty® Elite and introduces new elements such as Call of Duty® Clan Wars,” noted Activision in their announcement of the shutdown.
Players who’ve logged in to Call of Duty: Elite since Jan. 1 get two hours of double XP added to their rankings in Ghosts. All in-game content and stats will still be available, so hopefully not much will change for users.
The move seems to signal Call of Duty’s move away from subscription-based services—at one time after CoD: Elite debuted in 2011, it claimed 10 million active users and 2 million paid subscribers. But gamer backlash against paid online subscription services given the high price of the games and consoles themselves has been strong. CoD: Elite was a free service, but its premiums were too high for many gamers, especially considering how much expected content was reportedly unavailable on the site altogether.
So what’s next? Call of Duty is looking ahead to its next release, scheduled for November, which it’s calling “one of the best” CoD games ever.
We’ll like it even better now that we’ll have fewer a la carte services distracting us from shooting things.
Photo via ohfunmedia/Flickr; CC BY-ND-2.0