Activision's Call of Duty subscription service, CoD Elite, could cause a "small number" of loyal players to defect to EA's Battlefield 3.
That's according to the latest research note by Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter, who expects Activision's shares to come under pressure when EA's game is launched - especially if it scores well with press.
"We expect EA's game to perform exceedingly well, eclipsing the 6.5 million units sold by the last iteration, and think that Activision's introduction of Call of Duty Elite (its premium subscription service) could cause a small number of loyal Call of Duty players to defect to EA's game," Pachter wrote.
"While we think that Activision's 2011 Call of Duty sales have the potential to eclipse last year's mind-boggling 20 million units, due primarily to the network effect created by the game's remarkable 17 million weekly active unique online players, we think that the company's shares may come under pressure when EA's game is launched, particularly if Battlefield 3 receives a 90+ Metacritic score."
Set to launch alongside Modern Warfare 3 on November 8, Call of Duty Elite will offer a mixture of free and paid subscription features, but the publisher has stressed in a massive FAQ that that it's "TAKING NOTHING AWAY" from CoD players as multiplayer in its existing form will remain free.
So far over two million people have signed up for the Call of Duty Elite beta test.