The case for Call of Duty multiplayer subscriptions, mischievously cracked open last month by Activision CEO Bobby Kotick, has finally been slapped shut by none other than the series' architects.
In blog posts and Twitter notes, Call of Duty publisher Activision and developers Infinity Ward and Treyarch confirm they have no plans to charge gamers to play Call of Duty multiplayer.
"Modern Warfare 2 subscription plan rumors going around," noted Infinity Ward's Robert Bowling on Twitter. "For the record, nobody has to pay to play COD or MW2 multiplayer, nor will they."
"To be clear," added Bowling on his blog, "there is not, and will never be, additional fees required to subscribe and play Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer.
Alter-Call-of-Duty-developer Treyarch weighed in as well. The studio's community manager Josh Olin confirming that Treyarch's upcoming Call of Duty Black Ops wouldn't require "pay to play" multiplayer either.
Lest you wonder, it seems the rumor rebuttal extends to the series as a whole.
"Reports of a subscription membership in Modern Warfare 2 are not true," an Activision spokesperson told IGN. "Activision has no plans to charge gamers to play Call of Duty multiplayer."
So who started it?
Probably Bobby Kotick, who last month told the Wall Street Journal he "would have Call of Duty be an online subscription service tomorrow" if he could snap his fingers and magically make it so.
Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter rekindled speculation when he wrote in an investment report last Friday, "We think that it is incumbent upon Activision, with the most popular multiplayer game, to take the first step to address monetization of multiplayer."
And after a video of a game glitch purportedly "revealing" that Call of Duty subscriptions were imminent surfaced on Sunday, hordes of easily riled conspiracy theorists forced Activision's hand, prompting the blog and Twitter reactions linked above.
So there you have it, the anatomy of a pointless freak out, culminating in a return to status quo, i.e. Call of Duty multiplayer remains free-to-play.