Pachter: Activision should charge extra for CoD online

Analyst blames multiplayer gaming for US sales decline

Outspoken industry analyst Michael Pachter has revealed why he thinks US software sales have dipped 14 per cent - the fourth consecutive month that sales have declined.

Pachter attributes some of the decline to the purchase of "clearance" games and Nintendo bundling games in with their hardware.

However the majority of the blame is attributed to multiplayer gaming. He argues that the replay value of titles such as Halo 3 and Call of Duty are deterring players from purchasing more games - and even goes so far as encouraging Activision to charge consumers extra to play CoD online.

"...we think that the overall decline was due to a very large number of people playing multiplayer online games for free on PlayStation Network, and for an annual fee with unlimited game play on Xbox Live," He told IndustryGamers.

"We estimate that a total of 12 million consumers are playing Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 for an average of 10 hours per week on the two platforms' respective networks, and the continued enjoyment of this game (along with an estimated 6 million Halo online players, 3 million EA Sports players, and 5 million players playing other games, such as Battlefield, Red Dead Redemption, Left 4 Dead and Grand Theft Auto) has sucked the available time away from what otherwise would be spent playing newly purchased games."

Pachter presented this as a big problem and urged publishers to adopt a new business model that could "captures the value created by the multiplayer experience".

He believes that while consumers are undoubtedly benefiting from multiplayer, it has been "devastating for publishers and shareholders, who are seeing sales and profits decline".

Pachter singles out Activision to lead the way in monetising multiplayer using Call of Duty, which is consistently in the top two most-played games on Xbox Live.

"We think that it is incumbent upon Activision, with the most popular multiplayer game, to take the first step to address monetization of multiplayer."

He expects Activision to "take some action by year-end", with the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops, which will receive "a WoW-type model",

The solution he presents will probably sound quite appealing to Activision CEO Bobby Kotick, who has said he wishes to 'weaken Xbox Live and PSN', as well as create a subscription policy for Call of Duty's multiplayer component.

[ SOURCE: IndustryGamers ]