Activision's Call of Duty Elite Service: Soldier-slayer goes social

Call of Duty Elite
As Zynga reportedly nears an IPO that could shatter the games industry, Activision has released a bomb of a retaliation. (And no, it's not thanks to World of Warcraft.) Activision Blizzard, the number one games publisher globally, has unveiled Call of Duty Elite, a subscription-based social network for CoD players. While the pricing hasn't even been discussed yet, a self-respecting CoD fan might want to start paying up when this feature, developed by Activision's new Beachhead Studio, releases Nov. 8 in conjunction with Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 release date.

The service exists on the Web and soon after will be available through iOS and Android OS among other mobile devices. But what's most significant is that it involves an overarching stat tracking system that will reward players with virtual and physical prizes like in-game badges and even a Jeep Wrangler. The service will also serve as the ultimate repository for all things CoD--maps, tactics, guides, chat rooms, you name it.

Then, all of this information is transmittable via a Facebook or Twitter-like News Feed time line of all your registered friends. Judging from Activision's press release, it's essentially Facebook for Call of Duty, but let's hold absolute judgment until it officially releases. But beyond CoD MW3, the Elite service will exist, recording your previous performance history much like Halo Waypoint.

However, the comparison simply cannot be ignored when Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing says, "The average Call of Duty player spends 58 minutes per day playing multiplayer. That is more than the average Facebook user spends per day on Facebook. And yet, right now, there are very few tools to unite and super charge that social community."

The effect of Facebook (and its dastardly games) is having visible effects on how traditional developers release their games, especially with features designed to somewhat emulate social games and networks. With developers like Naughty Dog doing similar things to its hit Uncharted franchise, it's exciting to imagine who else might come out with social game-esque features this year--any wagers?

Have you read the previews of this new feature? Do you think this is how traditional developers will respond to the encroachment of Zynga and Facebook games? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
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