"It was a lot of hard work from where we were two weeks ago, which was an embarassing place," Suarez confessed. "And now we're at a place where we're confidant people will be able to enjoy the service." And while Elite is operational or, as Suarez put it, "up on its feet," the team continues to push out new builds almost daily. "We still have some bugs and some kinks to work out," he said. "We've been pushing out fixes everyday to address people on Twitter" and elsewhere.
As for a timetable of events, the failure went something like this: in the first week both registration and a "specific database" failed. While registration was up and running by week two, with "upwards of 50,000 registrants an hour," the "main area of impact that [Activision] had was a specific database that really holds all the data for most of Elite."
"It was a lot of hard work from where we were two weeks ago, which was an embarassing place."- Daniel Suarez
Getting both of those aspects working was "a step by step iterative process where we'd let more people in, stress test different parts of the service, and letting more people in every day," Suarez explained. "As of last Thursday night, Friday morning, we took off the prioritization queue so now anybody that signed up gets into the service automatically; free, paid, web, or console."
Now that the service is operational across those three platforms, Activision is nearly ready to introduce another component of the promised Elite experience: mobile. "The goal with mobile is that we're looking to launch at least one, if not both, sometime next week," Suarez said, referring to both the iOS and Android mobile applications. "We may stagger the release of those but likely one of them will launch next week."
Launching this Friday, however, is Friday Night Fights, the Ridley and Tony Scott-produced series pitting real life rivals against each other in the virtual world of Call of Duty. As for the regular DLC map pack installments promised with an Elite premium membership, Suarez wasn't revealing much but did say, "We're going to make an announcement very, very soon on the DLC map pack offerings for MW3," adding that we can expect to hear more "in the coming weeks."
When asked if major development would continue on Elite, adding features both on the Elite side but also on the MW3 side, or if that type of functionality would be reserved for annual releases, Suarez said, "We want to grow Elite to be something special, it's not a one-off thing. There's going to be consistent work coming in from all sides to create the service and make it more of a community and offer more features within both the game and the service itself. We haven't announced any of those but it's definitely part of what we want to do."
"The goal with mobile is that we're looking to launch at least one, if not both, sometime next week."
But perhaps that's premature. With four million users (and one million paid users!) Activision is finally delivering on its initial promise two weeks after launch. And while that gaffe was embarrassing to be sure, as a service, Elite's long-term success hinges more on Activision's ability to deliver a valuable resource consistently for days, weeks, years. We'll see how they do this weekend.