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Beleaguered Call of Duty Elite service continues to struggle


Are you hoping to access the Call of Duty Elite service right now? Don't count on it. A week after launch, the service is still "intermittent."

While the launch of the new "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3" game has been an enormous success for its publisher Activision, the same cannot be said for the company's new gaming social network — Call of Duty Elite.

Not only have many gamers had trouble consistently connecting to the service, but on Tuesday, Activision issued conflicting statements that left many PC gamers wondering if they would ever have access to Elite.

Call of Duty Elite — which was first revealed back in May — is an online social network-style service based around the Call of Duty military shooter franchise. It offers players a variety of community features — skills tracking, video sharing and multiplayer match-making among others. And it comes with both a free and a premium option — the premium option running $50 a year.

Elite launched, for the most part, on Nov. 8 — the same day as "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3" (which has now officially become the biggest entertainment launch of all time). But even that did not go as planned. Shortly before the Elite launch, Activision announced it would delay the PC version of the service.

In an interview with Activision blog One Of Swords, Chacko Sonny — head of Activision's Beachhead Studio in charge of the Elite project —  explained: "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."

Then, shortly after the service launched for home game consoles, Activision took to the Elite status page to calm upset gamers who were reporting problems accessing the service.

"...on Call of Duty ELITE, we are having trouble scaling the service to meet demand. Many of you are trying to get in and unfortunately, you can’t right now. You’re frustrated, we know it, and we know we need to fix it...

At launch, our registration and login systems were crushed by gamers trying to enter the ELITE site at the same time. We have now fixed the registration and login systems, but we have found that the greater than expected demand is crashing servers..."  

And problems have persisted, with some users reporting that they've been denied entry to the service once they input their age.

On Monday, Activision told customers that, "we’ve improved the stability for both the console app and website" but added that "neither is yet working at 100 percent."

"We realize there's still hard work to be done so that every player can access Call of Duty Elite whenever they want," read a statement on the status page.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday morning, the official Call of Duty Elite twitter account had this disappointing news for those waiting to use the service: "We are working towards a universal Elite experience but we cannot guarantee if or when a version will be available for the PC."

However, it didn't take long before the Twitter account retracted that statement: "We misspoke. Our goal has always been to provide a free PC offering for ELITE. Stay tuned for an update as timing is still being determined."

The Twitter account also confirmed that the Elite smartphone apps "have been held back until the site is stabilized."

Activision has promised to give those who've paid for membership to the service 30 extra days of Elite access for free for putting up with all the issues. What do you think, Call of Duty fans? Does this make up for the Elite woes?

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 Winda Benedetti writes about games for msnbc.com. You can follow her tweets about games and other things here on Twitter or join her in the stream here on Google+. And be sure to check out the In-Game Facebook page here.