Call of Duty Elite will be free for Black Ops 2 release: “Call of Duty is at its best when our community is united.”

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Call of Duty Elite will be free with the release of Black Ops 2, Activision have announced. Included will be the until-now paid-for parts of Elite’s service – Clans, daily competitions, Elite TV, pro analysis – while additional DLC will be sold separately, either as part of a $49.99 Season Pass or as $15 map packs. Four Black Ops 2 map packs have been announced so far.

Current Elite players who have already paid their $50 annual fee won’t be getting Black Ops 2 DLC in with the price, Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg told Polygon.

“The Elite Premium subscription was for the MW3 season of content [which included] an unprecedented 29 pieces of playable content so no matter when someone started their membership, they got more than their money’s worth,” said Hirshberg.

“What we have realised 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’re going to make them free for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2,” he added.

Don’t take the news to mean that Elite’s services are winding down, however. Beachhead Studios, the team responsible for Elite, has actually grown in preparation for Black Ops 2, Hirshberg told Polygon.

“And now that [Call of Duty Elite] will be free to a much larger audience for Black Ops 2, we also needed to beef up our back end infrastructure as well.”

Black Ops 2 multiplayer is already set to change things. Will a free Elite mean faster, more significant change for everyone? Let us know your thoughts.