The stat-tracking, deathmatch-map mastering Call of Duty: Elite service is to become free for all to use following the launch of the next game in the Call of Duty series, Black Ops 2.
First launching in 2011 alongside Modern Warfare 3 and being offered with premium subscription features attached, Elite let users delve into the fine details of their online play styles, checking out reams of stats and heat maps based on their performance, as well as offering instant access to paid-for DLC map and content packs.
This will all become free when Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 launches on November 13. Maps will land as separate bundles, hitting Xbox 360 consoles first for 1,200 points, or 4,000 points for a season pass that will unlock all maps as they become available.
Those currently paying for the Elite service with Modern Warfare 3 will continue to benefit from their subscription until it runs out. Following the Black Ops 2 launch, it’s presumed that all Modern warfare 3 players too will get free access to the full suite of Elite features.
The goal for the new free Elite service is to promote a more social experience for Call of Duty gamers, something which the subscription service achieved and that Activision now want to roll out across the entire playerbase.
Speaking to the Guardian, Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg said: “For us it simply comes down to the fact that Call of Duty is at its best when our community is united. This is why we’re returning to four map pack drops per year as well as why we’re making services such as leveling clans and Elite TV available to a wider Call of Duty community for Black Ops 2, not just to Elite premium subscribers.
“From the start, our goal with Elite was to make multiplayer a more social, more connected experience. And we have accomplished that, but for our premium members.
“We’ve come to the conclusion that Elite has more value as a community-wide platform driving engagement and connectivity, rather than as a paid members-only service.”