Activision CEO Robert Kotick already craves subscription fees for Call of Duty online multiplayer, so it's a given that he wants his company to be better positioned to capitalize on the frachise's success. The rub is that Activision cannot do so quite as easily as it would like, so long as the big three console giants hold such a huge sway on the way they want to run online gaming.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Kotick explains that despite the sheer popularity of Modern Warfare 2 on online gaming services like Xbox Live, the publisher cannot really profit from the number of players. What revenue MW2 does generate for Activision (not that it is by any means insignifigant!) is limited to game sales and DLC packs, something Kotick views as a missed opportunity for the publisher on Xbox Live and PSN.
"We've heard that 60 per cent of [Microsoft's] subscribers are principally on Live because of Call of Duty... We don't really participate financially in that income stream. We would really like to be able to provide much more value to those millions of players playing on Live, but it's not our network."
Kotick's call for Call of Duty subscriptions is really no surprise when you consider that Activision's most lucrative gaming business stems from Blizzard's World of Warcraft revenue, where the publisher most certainly rakes it in through monthly subscription fees. Compared to the PC online gaming scene, Kotick feels online consoles gaming is akin to "walled gardens". Of course Kotick isn't lamenting console gaming in general. He's quite excited over the prospects of Kinect for the Xbox 360, for starters.
To better compete with console gaming, Kotick envisions more "gamer-friendly PCs, designed to be plugged into the television" in order to better broaden the appeal of gaming on PC. Activision will continue to support big box PC vendors like Dell and HP to better realize this.