Only days before launch of Modern Warfare 3, it was revealed that Call of Duty: Elite would not be available for the PC on the day of release. The development of Elite for both the console and PC is being handled by Beachhead Studios. Head of development Chacko Sonny and product director Noah Heller were interviewed by One of Swords about what is in store for the PC. Chacko said the following in regards to the PC delay:
“We’re as committed as ever to the PC, but the need to ensure a safe PC environment is greater than ever. It’s really extensive. We need more time to get there, so Elite on PC will not launch on Day 1. We’re working our butts off to make it happen, but we won’t release it until we know that PC gamers can enjoy Elite as it’s meant to be. The issue here is that the PC is an insecure platform. Without a central, trusted resource for stats, a lot of our competition features become unfair. We can’t give away prizes when people can easily cheat their stats. Leaderboards are less fun when a lot of the users are there unfairly.”
Noah went on to explain some changes that will take place on the PC:
“As Chacko mentioned, not being able to trust stats is a big problem for our design. Because of this, we had to re-imagine Elite for PC. Elite for PC will be about access to your own stats, or those of your friends. Basically establishing a circle of trust. And because it will have some reduced functionality, it will be free for everyone.”
There is no estimated time for when Elite will be release for the PC. It was also confirmed by Noah that all PC users will have to purchase the map packs separately, something the Elite subscription service provides for free on the consoles.
Analysis: The stat tracking and weapons were features they boasted as a major draw for the Elite service, but as far as I can tell, none of these features have been touched. This has me a little on edge, to be honest. The main concern I see is with the weapons. Now that everyone has them, how are they going to make them special or unlockable? They might just have to work in an alternative reward system for levels, kill count, time played on maps, or combinations of any of these to ensure they are given fairly. This will undoubtedly leave a sour taste in many gamers’ mouths if they have to commit to time played because we don’t all have a huge amount of it to play.
The PC isn’t very secure, I’ll give them that. On the flip side of that coin, however, it’s also very open. I know that many gamers would not mind your implementing a new system to counter hacks so long as you don’t make it intrusive and harmful to our use of the PC. This would cause a lot more development time for the PC, of course, but consoles have hacks just the same as the PC. They just ban a whole console and account when this occurs. The only way to do this on the PC is to tie the serial to that account, but that doesn’t stop the PC dead in its tracks from using the Internet, so it isn’t as costly to the hacker.
This is by far the simplest way to control the situation as opposed to putting the resources into a new anti-hack system, but what are PC gamers losing? It doesn’t seem like we’re losing much aside from the rewards of play and a monthly cost. I would rather have the no cost then the rewards, but I better not be expected to jump through very time consuming hoops to reach a level that console gamers get for their fee.