When your video game series has sold over 55 million copies and has generated billions of dollars in revenue, the newest entry will obviously be incredibly anticipated. And while you're at it, you might as well try to piggyback some other things on the release that might catch on and create more revenue. When Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is released on November 8 of this year, Activision will be attempting to sell an online service known as Call of Duty Elite. Most of the content will be free, but a premium service with exclusive content will also be available, which will go for $50 and include Elite TV. There are several programs from heavy-hitting Hollywood producers in the offing.
The first is Friday Night Fights, produced by brothers Ridley Scott (Alien, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down) and Tony Scott (Top Gun, Crimson Tide). It will take two factions of "enemies" such as Yankee fans and Red Sox fans, and will have them play COD:MW 3 as a way to settle the score. What has me excited is there is apparently going to be "celebrity rivals" also duking it out video-game-style.
Also, a series from actor/producers Jason Bateman and Will Arnett called noobtube! will have people sending in videos of themselves playing the game and Bateman and Arnett will offer their own voiceover commentary, or "smack talk." This idea is fantastic, it's a definite draw for the new premium service. Anyone who is familiar with Arrested Development should be psyched, and anyone who is familiar with Bateman's mocking play-by-play performance in Dodgeball should be eagerly anticipating his foray into play-by-play again. Arnett and Bateman will also offer an animated comedy called Cocked Hammers.
The content will appear weekly beginning with the launch of the game, and more is planned. Besides the web series, Call of Duty will be offering extra maps, modes, and missions, and daily online tournaments. The launch of this big game has a lot riding on it, but with the power of such a popular game with the possibility of so many attractive extras, this is a great chance for web video to succeed on another level. There are 30 million or so Call of Duty players in the world. If they can get a good percentage of those people to pay $50, that is massive potential revenue.
Web video keeps getting more creative in how they increase awareness, and continue to attract name talent to produce content. It's an exciting time for the medium as it attempts to latch on to a wider audience.