Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter is at it again. Activision's Call of Duty series is a billion dollar franchise for the company and Pachter is adamant on his stand that the publishing giant will start charging for online play in some manner, despite Treyarch and Activision assuring its userbase that they will do no such thing.
"It is likely that Activision will make some effort to monetize its huge multiplayer community in 2011," said Pachter. "While this decision won't likely benefit packaged products sales, it should drive overall industry sales higher."
"Activision has benefited mightily from the 'network effect' caused by its large multiplayer community"”if all of your friends buy Call of Duty: Black Ops, you must buy it as well, since there is nobody left playing the prior year's version.
"The company appears laser focused on keeping its multiplayer community engaged and content, so we do not expect any changes to the existing 'free' service; rather, we think that Activision will carefully create a new layer of optional premium content, priced competitively to allow consumers to opt for those features they wish, and pass on other features," he explained.
Pachter believes that Activision will lead the way in monetizing online play, be it a premium service or another business model.
"We think that any business model adopted by Activision will be emulated by other publishers, and think that once Activision generates a significant revenue stream from premium multiplayer content, investor confidence will be restored. Thus, Activision remains our top pick in the sector," he said.