It all started with the creation of a new social networking and stats-tracking service known as Call of Duty ELITE. Publisher Activision, with the help of the developers behind the latest version of the millions-selling first-person shooter franchise, created the service to bring together the millions of players that make up the Call of Duty gaming community. ELITE keeps track of all kinds of information about players, showing them how they perform in the game with a wealth of information. The idea is that, by being able to analyze how you play down to the weapons you use and the areas in the game where you get beaten, you’ll be able to become a better player.
Elite also offers a number of social tools that allow players to interact with each other. The formation of groups around common interests is a big addition to Call of Duty, and the latest edition to the franchise, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, supports things like “clans,” or groups of players who form persistent teams to take on other clans, and other ways for players to meet and join games together. There’s also other premium content enjoyed by players willing to pay a yearly subscription.
As part of the outreach for ELITE come web and mobile apps to allow players the ability to access their Call of Duty information and interact with other players even when they’re not in the game. Activision dropped the Android version of the ELITE app this week (the version for Apple’s iOS platform came out about a week ago), allowing users to download the app to smartphones and tablets, showing them all the information they can get either online or in-game when using ELITE. That includes things like maps that show players where they do well and where they don’t during games, or the ability to analyze the weapons and attributes of opponents and copy them.
Apart from just looking at data remotely, ELITE allows you to actually make changes in the game while you’re away. If you have an epiphany while you should be working, but are instead thinking about which machine gun or grenades you’re ought to be using, you can use the app to change your character’s equipment, so next time you jump into the game, you’re ready to go.
Activision and Call of Duty aren’t the only games to extend to the app world for additional functionality. Several massively multiplayer games, such as World of Warcraft and Star Wars: The Old Republic, use security apps to give players’ accounts added protection. Other games give players a way of keeping in touch with their characters or the ability to buy and sell in-game items remotely.
There’s a lot of talk about the mobile gaming sphere, but many developers are finding ways to have apps augment the gaming experience. Activision’s Call of Duty ELITE app shows some forward motion in coming up with cool ways to have players keep in touch with games even when they’re not playing, and hopefully will inspire other developers to come up with interesting apps that open up the gameplay experience as well.