Activision's Call of Duty Elite service is still on the rocks, and things are going to get worse before they get better with the company confirming that it is holding back on the planned release of the mobile app until it can get the service working more reliably.
The 'Elite' service raised eyebrows when it was announced as a 'feature' of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3: unlike previous titles, which were free to play for all, it asks those serious about their gaming to cough up an extra charge to access a premium high-score table with integrated social networking features.
Despite complaints that publisher Activision is nickle-and-diming its loyal fans - many of whom, it is believed, are decamping to the rival Battlefield franchise - the company has seen plenty of interest in the service. A little too much, in fact: the Call of Duty Elite service is so oversubscribed, the company has had to extend everyone's subscriptions by an additional month while it boosts its infrastructure to handle the traffic.
A lack of servers has been blamed for the failure of the Elite service at launch, as fans grab their shiny new games and try to get online. Sadly, Activision shares the paid-for Elite service with the free-for-all standard multiplayer infrastructure, meaning that everything is offline for everyone. While work is continuing to improve things, it's having a knock-on effect on the rollout of other premium services promised at launch.
A companion mobile app, which allows Android and iOS users to keep an eye on their statistics and respond to messages from their friends and enemies, has been delayed indefinitely.
"While many people are curious and excited to use Call of Duty Elite's mobile applications, we plan to release the iOS and Android apps when we're sure the service will be able to handle the extra traffic they will generate," the company has confirmed in a statement.
The company has also addressed concern that the issues would lead to the outright cancellation of the PC version of Elite, which is currently a console-only exclusive. "We are working towards a universal Elite experience," the company posted to microblogging service Twitter, "but we cannot guarantee if or when a version will be available for the PC" [our emphasis.]
That statement had fans up in arms: with the PC still considered the 'true' home of first-person shooters, it seemed confirmation that the developers had lost their way in the rush to capitalise on the high retail price and guaranteed sales of console titles.
Activision has since clarified its meaning, backtracking on the 'if' part and confirming that a free version of Call of Duty Elite will be available for the PC as soon as possible "We misspoke," the company claims. "Our goal has always been to provide a free PC offering for Elite."
The company refuses to be pushed on a time scale for the launch, however, stating merely that "timing is still being determined."
Between the Elite launch issues and the revelation that head of MW3 developer Sledgehammer Games Glen Schofield had resorted to begging for votes to boost the game's Metacritic user score, as reported over on PC Gamer, to say that the launch hasn't gone according to plan is something of an understatement.