Let’s be honest here: we’re a little iffy about Call of Duty: Elite. There’s a feeling that we’re already spending plenty on the Call of Duty franchise just by buying a new game every year, without the added cost of subscribing to an online platform – especially given that we’re not yet clear on what that online platform is actually going to offer.
Well, today the cat is out of the bag – somewhat – as the online service goes into staged beta for CoD: Black Ops players on Xbox 360 and Xbox Live. According to the Head of Beachhead Studios, Chacko Sunny, Call of Duty Elite is ‘all about connecting our amazing fans around the globe in ways never before possible’.
The key elements Activision are pushing fall under three categories: ‘Connect’, ‘Compete’ and ‘Improve’.
Users will be able to ‘connect’ with friends and other gamers with similar skills levels, join groups and be involved in organized competitions. They’ll be able to track their own performance, and that of those in their network through mobile apps and a website.
They’ll also have be invited to ‘compete’ in exclusive events on a regular basis, to win both in-game and real-world prizes – although that’s not something that will happen until the service goes live for real on 8th November, so don’t expect it in the Beta.
Finally, Call of Duty Elite will ‘dynamically track player statistics and performance down to the finest detail’ – giving gamers the chance to ‘improve’ their skills.
There will also be all sorts of member exclusives and ‘all-new entertainment programs’, but again, that’s about as much detail as we’re getting on those for now.
Given the vague nature of all the information we’ve got so far, we’re not yet sure exactly how much the average Call of Duty player is going to get for their Call of Duty Elite money, or even, as yet, how much money that will be. Hopefully this beta will give us a better idea one way or the other. If you’re genuinely interested – or just share our slightly sceptical curiosity – and you’re currently playing CoD: Black Ops on an Xbox 360, then you can register for the beta here. And be sure to let us know what you think.