Activision has announced Beachhead, a wholly-owned development studio which will lead the creation of an all-new digital platform for the Call of Duty franchise.

"Beachhead will create a best-in-class online community, exclusive content and a suite of services for our Call of Duty fans to supercharge the online gaming experience like never before," explained Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing, during last night's fourth quarter earnings call. "The platform will support in-game integration and bring online experiences and console play together for the first time."

He added: "The platform has been in development for over a year, and we're very excited about the increased value we can bring to the community."

Via Seeking Alpha

So what does this mean for the Call of Duty franchise? Activision has already stated it will never charge for the Call of Duty multiplayer experience, but there's nothing stopping the publisher from offering new ways for consumers to purchase its titles.

Speaking last night, Activision boss Bobby Kotick said: "We've always said that the big are getting bigger but not only are the big getting bigger in retail, as players gravitate to the best experiences and we push the limits on our best-in-class execution, we have also leveraged our internal platforms to offer audiences choice and convenience through the provision of direct distribution of Blizzard games. We expect to enhance the Call of Duty experience in similar ways with our new digital platform from Beachhead."

Does this mean Activision plans to sell future Call of Duty titles directly to consumers via a new digital distribution platform?

A subscription model of some kind is also a possibility, offering those who pay a small monthly/annual fee access to map packs and in-game services, such as priority match making and automatic downloading of new content.