Activision Blizzard has managed to pump up Call of Duty to a Goliath-like status in online gaming for the past several years, so it was only a matter of time until the publisher thought of a way to sap more money from dedicated players. Its answer is Call of Duty Elite, a service that offers stat-tracking, group management and social features for $50 a year. The fee also covers downloadable map packs that non-members will have to buy individually.
The Activision Publishing CEO sells the service to Gamasutra as a way for gamers to save money on Call of Duty games’ pricey downloadable maps, reasoning that four map packs at $15 each would cost $60 a year. So far, the cheapest way for hardcore gamers to pick up an Elite subscription seems to be to buy the $100 Modern Warfare 3 “Hardened” edition, which comes with a membership and costs $40 more than the regular, presumably “Softened” version of the game.
Another option is to wait for membership codes from the Hardened edition to go up on eBay.