Activision has published details of what users can expect from its forthcoming Call of Duty Elite service, but only for those players not willing to cough up for the subscription-based premium version.
The gaming giant says it is keeping all of the juicy details of its paid-for on-line service under its hat until CoD Modern Warfare 3 is ready for prime time, but is rolling out the free stuff which will work under a beta testing programme with CoD Black Ops.
No doubt trying to avoid the inevitable flak which ensued when rumours of a two-tier service for the much-loved first-person shooter were floated, Activision is keen to point out that nothing will be taken away from the gaming experience everyone is used to.
"The Call of Duty community is too large and diverse to create a one size fits all approach, and Call of Duty Elite must be purely additive to the experience," says a post today on the company's web site. "The Call of Duty 'out of the box' experience that our players expect: a great single player campaign, co-op missions, and the deepest and most accessible multiplayer anywhere - at no additional cost - remains the same as ever.
"Our promise to you is this: Elite only adds to the Call of Duty experience. Nothing will be taken away from the experience you know and love. If you want to continue to play Call of Duty as you always have, you will still be able to do just that, including the ability to buy Map Packs ala carte. With Call of Duty Elite, we're adding a new choice for those who want to get even more out of the game. Even haters can play for free."
Elite's free features will allow gamers to:
Access Elite through the web as well as Elite's free custom iOS and Android applications for smartphones and tablets. Communicate across mobile, console and the web with your friends.
Track and share thousands of stats with friends - k/d ratios, score-per-minute, win % and loads more, all represented in easy to understand charts and infographics.
Create your own custom leaderboards to track friendly rivalries - who is moving up and down in your group of friends?
Analyze advanced heat maps detailing your match-by-match performance - where you killed or got killed, when it happened, and more.
Analyze your weapons performance - which weapons you are best with in which situations
Upload and share videos of your greatest moments through our exclusive theater mode with the touch of a button.
After you analyze your performance to your heart's content - Customize your loadout - search through all the weapons, attachments and perks, and push them directly into the game menu from the web or your mobile device with the touch of a button.
Join dozens of groups and find other players with common interests to play with and compete against - find people who make the game the most fun for you - TDM, Lakers' fans, Weekend Warriors
Create a Clan with players who share your interests and taste for competition
Bring your Facebook friends right into the game, easily taking your existing network into the Call of Duty experience.
Seamlessly be placed into Groups with those who share your affinities and interests based on your Facebook profile.
Start tracking your Call of Duty career — everything you wanted to know about your performance across the franchise starting with Black Ops.
Activsion says it will be rolling out more free features over the coming months and will reveal what's in store for subscribers closer to the launch date of CoD MW3.
There's still no indication of how much the service will cost but the smart money is pegging it at around a fiver a month.
There's a detailed FAQ on the information Activision is prepared to give away at the current time here but the company is playing its cards pretty close to its chest. The company has, however, made it clear that the multi-player online game will remain free to all gamers regardless of their subscription data, and that those who do cough up the monthly fee will get all downloadable content as part of their subscription.
It has also assured fans that paying for a subscription will not unbalance the online game by giving subscribers more powerful weapons or armour, saying the only way to get the best goodies is to earn them.