Call of Duty Elite free with Black Ops 2, DLC season pass sold separately

Activision is making some major changes to its "Elite" initiative with the launch of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. Namely, the company announced today that Elite services will be free when the game launches, while downloadable content packs will be for sale separately either a la carte or as part of a Season Pass.

Unlike Modern Warfare 3, the "season of content" for Black Ops 2 will stick to the more traditional map pack model. Activision has announced plans for four DLC packs, which will include both multiplayer and new Zombies content. Each is priced at $15. A discounted Season Pass will be available for $49.99. They'll start hitting in 2013.

The (newly-free) Elite features will include a Player HQ for personal statistics and class modification, Clan HQ for clan stats, zombie statistics, "Elite TV" with developer tips and interviews, and social features. This is apparently the promised Elite 2.0 version of the service Activision promised in February.

"We've learned a lot in our first year of Call of Duty Elite, and we're very proud that we over delivered on our commitment of playable content to our premium members," said Activision Publishing CEO, Eric Hirshberg in the announcement. "What we have realized is that several of the Call of Duty Elite services which are currently only available to our premium members for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 are things that would further unite, engage and delight our player community. So we are going to make them free for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2."

This is the second sign of Activision paring down some of its ambitious plans surrounding the Call of Duty franchise, after the company decided not to hold another Call of Duty XP event. This also puts the service more in line with EA's "Battlelog" service that was introduced with Battlefield 3.

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