When the service debuted on Nov. 8 it had a number of issues that made it tough for users to connect. Now, the company says it has stabilized the service and can deliver all of its major features to both paid and free users.
“We are where we should have been at launch,” said Daniel Suarez, vice president of production at Activision in an interview today. “It should be an enjoyable holiday weekend for people.”
Call of Duty Elite hit more than a million paid subscribers in its first six days, Activision Blizzard said. It now has more than 4 million paid and free gamers registered. That was part of the problem, as demand for the service overwhelmed the company’s server infrastructure. Gamers were still able to play Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer, but the service for Elite wasn’t good.
Suarez said that the company has slowly been adding more users and more features to the service. On Friday night, the Elite TV section of the service will debut the first episode of Friday Night Fights, featuring an Army vs. Navy game competition. That is the last big remaining piece of the service to debut.
Meanwhile, Suarez said that Activision will have announcements of downloadable content coming soon. Users who pay a subscription fee of $50 a year are entitled to DLC for free. Normally, they would have to pay for content such as new multiplayer maps.
As we noted yesterday, the subscription numbers suggest Activision Blizzard is marching on its way to getting gamers to pay for Call of Duty on a year-round basis, deepening their engagement beyond a few weeks after a game launch.
Call of Duty Elite has the benefit of riding on the coattails of the most popular video game in history. Modern Warfare 3 sold more than $775 million worth in its first five days of sales, making it bigger than last year’s Call of Duty Black Ops debut.
Last week, Suarez told us in an interview that the company had been able to restore enough service to guarantee service for those gamers who have signed up for the paid service. But at least half of those who are using the free version of the service weren’t able to log in, so they were still seeing error messages when they attempt to get in. The Elite web site as of yesterday finally shows that the service is fully operational.
So far, 80,000 Elite clans have been created and that should probably pass 100,000 shortly. The service has had more than 3 million daily logins. During the past week, Activision started offering competitions for gamers. Suarez said the Beachhead Studios team continues to chase small bugs such as making sure that users get their entitlements for Founders status.
Suarez said the mobile app for Elite will be available next week.
“Every week, we have progressively improved,” Suarez said. “Everything is now up and running.”