Call Of Duty Elite and Technical Difficulties

November 14, 2011, Author: Neil Hughes

Last week it was revealed that Modern Warfare 3 had raised revenue of $400 million on opening day alone, giving the game the title of biggest entertainment launch of all time. Call of Duty has now had this prestige for three years running, with figures that even a Hollywood blockbuster movie could only dream of. Whatever you think of the game itself, to put this into perspective, Call of Duty has made more money than ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’, which are two of the most successful entertainment franchises of all time.

With all this money being counted, many gamers turned their back on Activision and their seemingly avaricious nature when the much maligned Elite package was announced for around £35 in real money. As the package will meet all of your DLC needs for a year guaranteeing you the future map packs, it is actually cheaper than buying the usual quarterly DLC individually, so there is an argument that Activision were actually looking after their customers, as even your hardcore Battlefield fan could end up spending more on DLC map packs over a 12 month period than the Elite package itself.

Upon release day, many excited gamers rushed to purchase their premium service to get the best out of their favourite game, paying anything between £60 and £80 for the pleasure in what they expected was to be the ultimate gaming experience. Instead the majority of people were greeted with the now-infamous password error when attempting to login to the new service as the servers buckled at the overwhelming traffic. A huge amount of registrations and attempted logins were taking place in a short amount of time.

Activision released a statement and a service status saying “On Call of Duty Elite, we are having trouble scaling the service to meet demand. Many of you are trying to get in and unfortunately, you can’t right now. You’re frustrated, we know it, and we know we need to fix it. Our teams have been working non-stop to identify issues and resolve them as quickly as possible. Again, these issues have no impact on the performance of the game.”

Elite: ‘something which is the best, choicest part of something; socially superior group’

Activision were quick to reassure users that their stats are safe and that all subscribers will receive an extra 30 days subscription as a goodwill gesture, but after nearly a week of release some are wanting to see what they get for their money. However it is important to remember that despite this overwhelming demand, the game itself is unaffected and this should be all that people care about, given that the DLC is the main reason people subscribed in the first place.

The biggest game in the world having server problems with the premium package is certainly embarrassing for Activision, but unfortunately the reality is that if you have millions of people hitting a server at one time, especially at a rate that you couldn’t ever predict, there are going to be a few problems, and both Battlefield and CoD fans discovered that very fact this month.

We are the ‘now’ generation who expect everything to be there when we want it to be, but it’s just not that simple. You only have to look at sites such as Ticket Master grinding to a halt during a big release to realise that technology is not as simple as we would prefer it to be.

However, Activision do have a bottomless pit of money, so wont have to dig to deep to increase their server capacity or, as Richard Dreyfuss said in the movie Jaws, they’re going to need a bigger boat.

Lambs to the slaughter?

There is another section of gamers out there that are probably scoffing at the first person shooter fans, squabbling over server issues and games with six hour single player campaigns, when they could be immersing themselves in another world courtesy of Skyrim. They could enjoy over 100 hours of gaming nirvana without the modern-day worries of server troubles and strict Nat settings. Maybe these gamers are the smartest of the land and the rest of us will one day wake up and see sense, but until then, we’ll see you on the battlefield soldier.

Should we be more patient or should developers simply be more prepared for the big releases that are obviously going to be massive? What are your thoughts on the server issues that have hit both Battlefield 3 and the Call of Duty releases?