Bobby Kotick has revealed that he would like to see more of the Xbox Live subscription fees going to Activision. In an interview with Joystiq
, Kotick revealed that Activision receive a "very modest amount of the subscription fees," but that he's more interested in seeing the recent rise in Live Subscription fees go towards "directly benefitting the Call of Duty players."
You know, Call of Duty games probably represent more than 50% of the total Xbox Live traffic. Because of our Blizzard experience we have an incredible understanding of how important the provision of appropriate customer service is. What we'd like to ideally see is that the investment in the subscription fees going towards the provision of a higher level of customer service [...] to see some portion of the subscription fees go towards game enhancement.
As Activision only receive a "very modest amount", Kotick was asked whether a subscription fee would be introduced to bring in the revenue that he desires. His answer was typically vague:
"We have an obligation to provide a return for our shareholders. At the same time, I think we've probably done more to try and create innovative ways for people to pay for their games."
Surprisingly enough, Kotick also defended the second-hand games market.
"We're not doing anything to suppress used games today. What we've tried to do is to really support our audiences and, you know, when you talk to players, they like the idea of having a currency. They like the idea of being able to take a game they no longer want to play and use it to get a credit to buy new games. We can do some of these things that EA and others have done. We actually don't think its in the best interest of the gamer, and so we've chosen not to."
Finally, he addressed the pricing for the DLC map packs that were released for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
. Kotick was asked whether he felt that Activision had overpriced their map packs, especially with the controversy that followed their release:
"Our customers need to be satisfied that there is a price-value relationship that they feel great about. As business models evolve, as the way you distribute content evolves, as the ability to do things online changes in terms of pricing or trial or sample, I think we've definitely always been out in front of the rest of our competitors. But I think you always need to be sensitive to that relationship and not crossing the line to a place where the customer feels like they have been taken advantage of. You can have a virtual item sale, pay for a level, you can pay for a downloadable content pack, you can pay for a refill product ... There's so many different ways, and they are evolving so quickly that we are spending a lot of time evaluating all these different ways that consumers can feel good about how much they pay for their video game experiences."
It doesn't look like the pricing of their DLC is likely to drop anytime soon. The Call of Duty franchise has currently sold 20 million map packs. The Stimulus Map Pack sold over 2.5 million units in its first week of release. With these figures, do you really blame them for keeping their current prices?