Modern Warfare 3 details have already begun to trickle from the halls of Infinity Ward to hordes of eager gamers. One thing that we know for certain is that MW3 will include submarines, something we feel is a must in any first person shooter worth getting excited about.
Now, Call of Duty announcements at this years E3 have been mostly about gameplay, with little reference made to the franchises' newly announced Elite service, so...
What exactly is Call of Duty Elite?
The network of gamers engaging in online battles with Call of Duty has grown so vast that many are begging for online and mobile means to manage their gaming. Elite does just that, bringing dedicated iOS and Android apps as well as a full featured website which tracks stats, leaderboards, maps and weapon performance.
The idea is that Elite adds a delicate balance of Facebook style social interaction alongside complex statistics for the gaming hardcore. The service is designed to be incredibly in depth, going as far as to provide weapons analysis that can show which gun is best to use in which situation. For the most serious of COD fans, expect some elements of Elite to act like an online coach, offering tips on strategies and techniques based on your own unique stats.
And what about the social side?
Elite also allows you to import Facebook friends, grouping them automatically by interests and affinities. Video can also be shared throughout the Elite website, making it easy for you to show off your best matches or if you prefer some of your worst gaming moments.
On the competition front, Call of Duty Elite is going to offer something called the program guide which gives you a roundup of all the organised matches, leagues and tournaments going on in the Call of Duty universe. Enter a competition and the opportunity is there to win prizes, many of which will be in-game, but some, including a new Jeep, are out in the real world. Gun turret not included.
How much does it cost?
Most of Call of Duty Elite will be free. The idea is that it simply adds to the experience without the extra cost. There's been plenty of emphasis placed on the fact that you'll still get the same core Call of Duty experience out of the box for the same price and the standard version of Elite is designed to simply add to the COD formula without making things more expensive.
There will however be a paid for premium version of Elite, the details of which remain sketchy. It appears most of the paid for integration with Elite will appear in Modern Warfare 3. We currently know that the social elements and Facebook interaction of Elite will be accessible free of charge. We also know that the career section of Elite and the stat tracking that incorporates performance, maps and trends will also be free to access.
The other thing you'll get with Elite is DLC. Those without the premium service will still be able to download individual elements at a price but those with Premium will get access to all DLC for free.
When can I get it?
At the moment Elite is recruiting for a free beta using the multiplayer community founded in Black Ops. There is a page set up over a the official Call of Duty website which will allow you to register to take part and the full Elite service will be launched in Autumn 2011.
As for accessibility, you'll be able to get Elite on just about anything that can connect to the Internet including things like Android tablets and the iPad, all of which are set to get their own applications.
So that's it...
Looks like Call of Duty Elite could be the gaming trump card that draws the crowd from the current buzz surrounding EA's Battlefield 3. There are few games which offer anywhere near as much as an out-of-the-box community as that of Call of Duty, so expect Elite to help bring together that already gargantuan online following. Hopefully the above has made things a bit clearer for you, but for those still struggling why not check out the video trailer below.
Fancy getting Elite? Or are you still sticking with Battlefield 3?..