Activision Blizzard made it clear during the earnings call today that they are very pleased with the performance of their Call of Duty Elite subscription service. Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing, said, “We believe that the free Elite service is the best free service in the industry and dramatically increases the value of buying the game for all of our players. And the premium subscription for Elite quite simply resets the bar for multiplayer experience, with several industry firsts in innovations and services.”
Hirshberg gave some detail about how well the subscription service is doing in the one day it's been available. “Although it's still extremely early, we've been very pleased with the attach rate of the purchase of Call of Duty Elite premium subscription with the pre-order ofModern Warfare 3 when available.”
Looking ahead, Hirshberg is very optimistic about the prospects for the subscription service. “In terms of establishing expectations for an unproven model like this, it's very hard to forecast. But if you look at companies with a similar fee-based subscriber model like Xbox LIVE or Netflix, it took each of them at least a year to reach 1 million paid subscribers. And based on our Elite pre-orders alone, we expect to meet that milestone a lot sooner.”
Of course, the real test will be to see how long subscribers stay with the service, but we won't know that for many months. If Activision can really sell 20 million or more copies ofCall of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, getting to more than a million subscribers seems likely. What will the number be a year from now?