Man Down: COD Elite PC Delayed

By Alec Meer on November 4th, 2011 at 5:14 pm.

 No sir, wearing a wetsuit does not classify you as 'elite.'

Elite, the social network/video-making/DLC-flogging wrapper for Call of Duty due to launch with Contemporary Fighting Techniques 3 next week, won’t be turning up on PC at the same time as the game itself. Why? It’s because you’re so insecure. And so you should be, with that nose. Oh, sorry, I’ve got it wrong – it’s because the devs think the PC’s insecure. That’s not an insult, calm down. They’re just worried about cheaters hacking the system: the precious statistics must be protected!

“We’re as committed as ever to the PC, but the need to ensure a safe PC environment is greater than ever,” said Beachhead Studio head Chacko Sonny (that’s ‘Chacko Sonny‘. Wow.) ” 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.”

Reasonable enough, but a shame they didn’t think of this sooner, given Elite was announced yonks back. Forever the bridesmaids, mainstream PC gamers are.

Also, PC Elite, when it launches, will be free for all because it’s going to be missing some features. This means you won’t be able to sign up for the DLC subscription, which gets you add-ons for a few less groats. Instead, “PC guys will be able to purchase their DLC content a la carte, just like it has worked before.” But full-whack price, presumably.

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61 Comments »

  1. jon_hill987 says:

    “competition features become unfair”

    Competition features in a game with persistent unlocks are unfair anyway. If they really want to make a competitive game everyone should have everything from the start. You don’t have to unlock the Rooks in chess do you? It should be about how good you are not about how long you have played.

    • Prime says:

      (comment below)

      Yes. Keep going down. It’s just down there.

      ….

      Honestly. You’ve almost reached it.

    • Prime says:

      Good god, man! But what do the rubbish players do then, hmm? When skill and talent are required to be perceived at being good in games, what do the ignorant, unwashed massed do then, hmm? And then how do we coax those same peons into buying our shiny products???

      DOWN WITH YOUR UNPROFITABLE MERITOCRACY!

    • Hoaxfish says:

      pfft, everyone knows you’re only allowed to play Chess after you’ve mastered Draughts…

      Unless you’re some sort of board-game hacker/pirate!

    • Aemony says:

      What’s the point in playing Draught when Chinook has already solved it?

    • Roshin says:

      I did cheat on the Rubik’s Cube, though. Because seriously, fuck that thing.

  2. Chickenfeed says:

    I say, this is a disapointment.

    It looks like I will have to play with my friends and create clans without paying for it, for now.

    What a shame…

    • Unaco says:

      It was/is going to be free, you realise. With an option to pay for Premium membership (which I think would/will net you things like DLC for free/reduced price). So, you’ll still be able to play with your friends and create clans without paying for it, even when it gets rolled out.

    • Chickenfeed says:

      I completely forgot that, that makes me look dumb.

      I imagine the free version is incredibly dumbed down though. I know that Elite gets all the map packs for “free”, but… I don’t like it at all.

  3. V. Profane says:

    “We’re as committed as ever to the PC” I believe them.

  4. mrwaffles829 says:

    Hmm…Dice/EA didn’t have a problem with BattleLog.

    Wouldn’t surprise me if this was all a stunt to get PC players to pay full price for DLC.
    Oh Activision, you sneaky sneaky succubus.

    • Premium User Badge

      Keymonk says:

      Not so much succubus as slightly retarded imp.

    • mondomau says:

      You…are kidding right? Google “BF3 Leaderboard hack / cheat / boost” – for the past week there have been people at the top of all the boards with hilariously bogus scores (something like 12 million kills in 22 minutes in one case). It’s fixed now, the offenders either wiped or banned but I doubt it will be long before it resurfaces.

      Note : I’m not disagreeing with your suspicions, I wouldn’t put it past Acti, I’m just pointing out the EA / DICE example isn’t valid.

      Oh, and on another note – the worst offender on BF3 for blatant boosting / hacking was… The Xbox 360. By a long, long way. Yeah.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      something like 12 million kills in 22 minutes

      I believe that was one of the rare WMD unlocks, EA acknowledges they still need balancing.

  5. Mac says:

    “We’re as committed as ever to the PC”

    So, not at all then …

    “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.”

    So there will not be any hacks or cheats on the 360 or PS3 … yeah right !

    In summary – the PC is secure enough to bank on, but we trust the consoles more with some numbers signifying how you have played a game … hmmmm

    I really don’t see the point in getting this when BF3 is so much fun.

  6. Premium User Badge

    AlwaysRight says:

    Hey, Whats wrong with my nose?

    *looks in mirror*

    oh…

  7. Styles says:

    What is this all consuming obsession with “stats” that has emerged in the past few years? Every competitive game now seems to feature stat tracking, and in turn, every whiny little teenager on the net tries to use said stats to prove that they are superior to everyone else in life.

    Playing World of Tanks, I frequently see “Blah blah blah, I’m better than you because my stats are 0.1% better than yours” ….”Nuh uh!” …”Am too!” ….”abusive expletive” …”abusive expletive”.

    I want to TURN OFF stat tracking because I don’t care about it in the least …but can I? NOOOOOO! YOU MUST BE JUDGED!

    • Kaira- says:

      I’d say it is anything BUT a recent trend.

    • Starky says:

      Indeed almost all of the classic arcade and early Amiga/PC games were all about stats, high scores, level times, hell if anything this is a resurgence of using performance statistics as a way of measuring yourself against other gamers (and as part of the gameplay) after the SNES to PS1 era tried so hard to hide it all.

      This is a return to the arcade style high-scores tables but on a global scale – of course some games never stopped doing it, but now it is becoming more and more common for AAA titles to include such a feature.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Wolfenstein 3D had stats…

      However the really recent stuff is one of those “benefits” they trot out in order to convince us that their internet requiring DRM is totally “okay and reasonable”

    • TheGameSquid says:

      Highscores are something totally different. I’m all for leaderboards and whatnot. Those have been around since day one.

      What we’re talking about here are PERSISTENT stats. It has more to do with people not caring about their kills if they’re not registered and added to some meta-stat. Most of these stats are cumulative (like amount of people shot in the face, amount of people fragged, kills with this weapon, experience points, time played with this class, etc. etc.) instead of actual performance stats (at least, that’s the impression I’m getting).

      What I also dislike is that it gives the people the impression that COD MP is an intensely skill-bases games. It certainly doesn’t strike me as one.

      Highscores can be achieved with skills and hard work. Meta-stats and unlocks are all about grinding. Those persistent stats are a pretty recent trend, and not a very good one I might add.

    • Archonsod says:

      What amazes me is manshooter fans are capable of maths in the first place.

      :P

  8. Raiyan 1.0 says:

    Looks like a flame war is being ‘leet.

  9. Creeping Death says:

    “Without a central, trusted resource for stats”

    It’s called a server.

    Seriously, just have all your precious stats saved on a server that the client needs to sync with every time it launches. Problem solved.

    • aiusepsi says:

      Which works until someone reverse-engineers the client-sync-with-server protocol and uploads fake stats to the server.

      That’s the problem in a nutshell; the client code is in the hands of the enemy, so you have to assume that anything the client tells you is lies. The client cannot be trusted.

      Which then leads to the next plan: OK, so the dedicated server will upload the stats…

      Doesn’t work either. The dedicated server code is in the hands of the enemy, and so cannot be trusted.

      It’s really not a trivial problem to solve. The only 100% bulletproof way is to not give the necessary code to the enemy, e.g. by only allowing some sub-set of people to run dedicated servers.

    • Heliocentric says:

      Make a game where stats are only for friends to see and give them no worth as a currency. 99% of the hackers just gave up, and the last 1% never will.

    • JackShandy says:

      But then you’ve gone and changed the entire way your game works, because of hackers.

      Which means they’ve won!

  10. Unaco says:

    I’m not interested in the game, or the whole Elite thing, but it’s encouraging to hear they’re holding it back to make sure it all works when it does come out. MW2 and BLOPS still have ~40,000 people playing them at this moment, so there’s evidently a market for MW3 and Elite.

  11. CHABOXERS says:

    This is extremely confusing to me. It seems like the two possibilities are that stats are maintained locally or that there are separate Elite back-ends for the PC and for consoles. Neither of these makes much sense.

    Trusting the client to report stats violates one of the most basic rules of web security: never trust data from the client. Always validate on the server side. Certainly, somebody has to send something to Elite, but I would think that would be the game server at the end of a match. Still exploitable, sure, but much harder to do (and much easier to detect!).

    The second possibility is also crazy. If there are two separate Elite systems, do they behave the same way? Does that mean that the system for consoles is inherently less secure than the nascent system for PCs? If so, couldn’t somebody just use a PC to submit spurious requests to the console Elite servers?

    In any case, I know I’m just another voice in a chorus of people calling shenanigans. As an engineer, though, I just want to offer the more specific shenanigan allegation that nobody who has half a clue designs a system like this without considering security early on. To do otherwise is either a failure of design (you didn’t realize that a competitive stat-tracking system needs be accurate?) or engineering (there are hacks on teh interwebs?). These folks are either very bad at their jobs, being a little disingenuous, or communicating the nature of the problem poorly. I’m inclined to give the benefit of the doubt and assume poor communication, but I’d love to know more about the security issues they’re dealing with this late in the game.

    Edit: clarity.

    • pakoito says:

      Throw 200M$ of PR for 50M$ on development and you make technical problems disappear.

      PSS: Click dat lienk for haxx0rz stats leet sheet 50$ pop a piece UNDETECTABLE. hhtp://russkigoldcodpros.ru

  12. killmachine says:

    i’m also confused. is this game actually coming to the pc as well? i mean i saw the trailers lately and at the end they tell me i shall pre order for xbox360.

    i get the message activision. ;)

    • db1331 says:

      I sometimes literally laugh out loud when I see the “Play it best on Xbox 360″ ad at the end of a trailer for a game that is for PC and consoles. Especially for a game like CoD. Yes, play it best on Xbox 360. In 720p. With a controller. And a monthly fee to play online.

  13. Shooop says:

    “We’re as committed as ever to the PC…”

    Enough as to consider mouse support a feature?

    • Mr_Initials says:

      Beachhead Studio head Chacko Sonny says “also fuck mice no one uses that outdated technology”

  14. Calabi says:

    There being a bit optimistic arent they, so they really think they can make the pc version secure?

  15. Dana says:

    Hopefully all my doritos bags and mountain dew cans wont expire by then.

  16. Deadly Habit says:

    meanwhile, modern warfare 3 sold early at some shops for 360 and ps3 and is up on torrent sites. damn those pc pirates ruining the industry. didn’t skyrim get leaked for 360 already as well?

    • rayne117 says:

      I just found Skyrim for the 360 in the torrent universe in about 20 seconds, there is no bootleg PC version though.

      CONSOLES GAMERS ARE KILLING PC GAMING

  17. G_Man_007 says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Shove it up your arse Activision. You only see gamers as a cash supply anyway, after your “experiment” to see if people in the UK would put up with an extra fiver on a copy of MW. Not interested.

  18. Melf_Himself says:

    Erm. Isn’t the server supposed to keep control of all the game stats. If their PC version is so insecure, maybe I can just hack myself in some of those dogs that shoot bees out of their mouths, and then the bees shoot lasers. Or whatever.

  19. lijenstina says:

    “We’re as committed as ever to the PCP”.

  20. rayne117 says:

    “Leaderboards are less fun when a lot of the users are there unfairly.”

    hahahaahahahahaaha

    Is this guy kidding? Just go on any CoD game ever that has leaderboards (PC OR console) and look at the top of every single one.

    1. xxxblunkkilla420xxx Score 104934856406859685095805860458605 Time played 548749856347698 days 36 hours
    2. FaTaL WoUnDz Score 56465654364756876363653463 Time played 439865346574231449249394 days 34 hours
    3. bigfatwang Score 5384594953845803485039 Time played 94390598430584309845 days 49 hours

    And it’s that for another 1000 or so then you get to the legit rankings.

    • subedii says:

      You’re just angry that you’ll never be as cool as those guys.

      You not-cool person you.

  21. Premium User Badge

    Ham Solo says:

    Oh don’t worry, I’m not interested in anything Call of Duty, because I’m busy playing Battlefield 3. Thanks, but no thanks. :)

  22. veelckoo says:

    Up your a$$ activision. If you’re going to treat people like this you will end up like your own Guitar Hero. Pity that you are dragging Blizzard along.

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  26. red plague says:

    the only thing i cared in MW series, well…two things are Soap and Captain Price. Fuck pay-for-more-map-with-fucked-up-spawn-and-camper-and-cheater-DLC!!!!!!!
    The security issue in PC is BS obviously, they will be hacked anyway with or with needing pay for DLC.