By encouraging gamers out of the shadows, Call of Duty Elite has had the knock-on effect of people treating their "neighbours" with "respect", Activision has observed.

Beta participants are "being supportive" and "talking to each other", Activision digital VP Jamie Berger told Gamasutra. "They're actually behaving very much like people who just want to be social and have fun, not people who want to flame each other."

Berger believes online shooter fans are hostile because they're anonymous. But Call of Duty Elite allows members to "start knowing each other" through detailed, individual personal metrics.

"It creates a social contract," said Berger. "How can we start behaving as if we live in a neighbourhood? You try to treat your neighbours with respect. When you create a true community, that, to me, is the difference between social gaming and a community."

"I'm really excited about that aspect. It starts breaking a lot of the bad assumptions about what a shooter is.

"It breaks down those anonymous walls and turns it into something where you start knowing each other."

A Call of Duty Elite subscription costs Ł35 annually, although you can also enjoy part of the service for free. Covered by that subscription is all Modern Warfare 3 DLC, pro analysis and Elite TV, a swathe of clan features and much more.

Call of Duty Elite arrives with Modern Warfare 3. Existing COD title Black Ops will also use the service.

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Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.

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