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Call of Duty Elite subscription service to headshot your direct debit

The Call of Duty franchise is to introduce a subscription service called Call of Duty Elite, which will offer map packs and extra online features for gamers willing to stump up a monthly fee.

Terrifyingly popular oh-god-what's-this-doing-to-our-kids gaming franchise Call of Duty is set to make even more money by introducing a subscription-based service called Call of Duty Elite. The service will launch on 8 November along with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

The new service will offer downloadable map packs for those that fork out a monthly fee, according to the Wall Street Journal. This is something of a u-turn for publisher Activision, whose CEO Eric Hirschberg said, "we will never, ever charge for multiplayer," as recently as last November.

There will be free elements to the service too, such as Facebook-style features for finding groups of like-minded psychopaths with which to team up and compare stats. The good news is that while some features will only be reserved for Elite members, online matches will still be free. 

There's no word yet on exactly what other features will be, or how much the service will cost. Xbox 360 users will have to pay for the service on top of the Xbox Live subscription they already pay every month.

PS3 gamers will only pay the Elite subscription because Sony's PlayStation Network is free, but they will have to play on a platform that's been been subjected to more hacks than a canapé bar at a tech press event.

Activision is certainly in a position to charge a sub -- it's the company behind World of Warcraft, and we'd wager there are so many Call of Duty fans out there itching for extra features that the Elite subscription could make a great deal of money. Not without a metric craptonne of moaning, though.

Halo fans will be keen to point out that Bungie.net has long offered a range of extra Elite-style features, without trying to bleed gamers out of any extra extra dosh.

The upcoming Modern Warfare 3 is leakier than a post-iceberg Titanic, having had its entire plot exposed just the other week.

Would you pay for the extra Elite goodies? Or are you angry about your favourite game suddenly trying to turn you upside down and shake you by the ankles? Let fly in the comments, or on our Facebook wall.