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Black Ops 2 sets Call of Duty: Elite free, Activision says it's "the best thing for our business and players"

"Keeping our player community more united" touted as key goal

Viva la revolution! Activision plans to make the Call of Duty: Elite premium service free to all Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 players, including new features like multiplayer broadcasting and stat-tracking for the game's Zombies mode. There's a sting in the tail, however, and that sting is thusly: all Black Ops 2 DLC will be sold separately.

Where Modern Warfare 3's DLC offerings were dribbled out as monthly content "drops", free to Premium Eliters, Black Ops 2's four currently known DLC packs will be sold the old-fashioned way, at 1200 MP a pop. You'll get the whole lot at a discount when you pick up a Season Pass.

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Asked to explain this exhilarating turn-around (cheers, GamesIndustry), Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg suggested that splitting the audience between Premium and non-Premium users had cost Modern Warfare 3 a certain amount of long-term interest. "Well, while Modern Warfare 3's tail didn't match that of Black Ops, the launch of Black Ops didn't match that of Modern Warfare 3," he said. "I think those two things are related.

"We have been able to turn Call of Duty launches into such cultural events, that they draw more and more of buyers forward into the launch window. Modern Warfare 3's tail was still incredibly strong. That said, keeping our player community more united is definitely one of our goals with this change in approach."

Activision hopes to make Elite freely available alongside all future Call of Duty titles, Hirshberg added. "That's the plan, but of course, a year ago our plan was to offer a subscription service. So sometimes you need to change in response to the marketplace and also in response to your community. But right now, we're confident that this is the best thing for our business and for our players."

Is it?

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