There was a time not so long ago when both Activision and EA were keen to make their most popular shooter franchises into Web-based social platforms of their own. The companies' respective products were Call of Duty Elite and Battlelog -- but now it looks as if the former is to be abandoned in favor of a companion mobile app.
Call of Duty Elite was an ambitious program that offered not only stat-tracking and social features, but also a bunch of content that was exclusive to those who signed up and paid for the service. Subscribers had access to TV content, DLC, official competitions and tips from the pros. By March 2012, the service had 10 million members in total, two million of which were premium subscribers.
By November of that year, though, Call of Duty Elite had gone free, with the business model returning to the series' standard of selling map packs separately. And now it seems that Call of Duty Elite is to go away altogether -- this Friday, to be exact.
It's perhaps not altogether surprising, since Elite only worked with Modern Warfare 3 and Black Ops 2 and not the more recent Ghosts. Instead, Ghosts makes use of the current Call of Duty app, which offers similar functionality plus the new Clan Wars metagame. The latter challenges eight evenly matched clans to battle for dominance over locations on a map over a period of time, with clans able to earn Capture Points by playing specific game modes and maps. It's an interesting idea that encourages social play, and for clans to try out a number of different game modes rather than just those they're most familiar with. In-game rewards are also available for those who perform well in Clan Wars.
As for Elite, however, Activision has posted an FAQ on what the shutdown means for members. Those who were Founder members will get to keep their special emblems, which will continue to be displayed in Ghosts. Those who have logged in since January 1 of this year will receive two hours of double XP gain in Ghosts, too. Those who created content and either stored it in the game or uploaded it to YouTube will still have access to it; those who did not pair their Call of Duty account with a personal YouTube account will subsequently be able to find their videos on the official 360 and PS3 channels for Black Ops 2, depending on the platform they were playing on.