Activision will add in-game purchases to Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 beginning Wednesday, according to the blog of Activision spokesman Dan Amrich.
The so-called "Micro Items" will include aesthetic customization options, which Activision describes as being "like dress-up for your favorite weapons." One specific example given: "The Bacon Personalization Pack," which will cover your gun in greasy, delicious bacon. These will cost two bucks a pop.
Aside from the silly aesthetic stuff like the bacon gun camo, Activision is also now selling upgrades that give players more slots for customized weapon loadouts, as well as maps and modes that were previously only available to gamers who bought the more expensive limited-edition versions of Black Ops 2.
And thus did microtransactions finally come to Call of Duty.
This was an inevitability, one long in the making. Speaking at the Game Monetization Summit in San Francisco last year, Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter told an audience that Activision was screwing up by not charging players more for access to Call of Duty's multiplayer component.
"[Activision] trained gamers that you can buy a game and play it all year, ten hours a week, forever, and you never have to pay again," Pachter said. "The World of Warcraft guys are paying $180 a year, and the Call of Duty guys are paying $60. So who's got a better model?" he asked.
This is not the first attempt by Activision to apply a new payment scheme to the shooter games, which start at $60 each at retail.
In 2011 it created a service called Call of Duty Elite that added social features to the game - for a Warcraft-style monthly fee. Over 1 million fans signed up when it launched, but Activision ended up abandoning the experiment, turning Elite into a free service for all Call of Duty players. It continues to sell extra multiplayer game maps to players for substantial fees, and gives players the option of signing up for a "season pass" that gets them all the content for a discounted lump sum.