Call of Duty franchise coming to China as free online game

"Call of Duty Online" uses a "freemium" business model popular in China

A new version of the "Call of Duty" series is coming to China, and will be free to play, eschewing a US$60 price tag to instead generate revenue by getting users to buy in-game items.

The U.S.-based publisher Activision Blizzard said on Tuesday it will bring its new "Call of Duty Online" game to China by partnering with local Internet giant Tencent, a major provider of online games in the country. The two companies have signed a multi-year agreement, that will have Tencent as the exclusive operator of the game in China.

Unlike other games in the series, "Call of Duty Online" uses a so-called "freemium" business model, meaning users can play for free, but have to pay for access to advanced features or items. In China, the model has become one of the most viable ways to generate revenue from the market, which has been plagued by piracy.

The gaming model for "Call of Duty Online" was designed specifically for the Chinese market, according to Activision Blizzard. In development for about two years, "Call of Duty Online" has its own original story, and features different game modes and maps, along with an in-game store that will allow users to improve their weapons, equipment and other perks.

In China, Activision Blizzard already operates its hit "World of Warcraft" online game. Users purchase pre-paid minutes to continue playing their game.

To launch in China, "Call of Duty Online" must first be approved by local authorities as part of mandatory government check on imported online games. Tencent said on Wednesday it was working with Activison Blizzard to prepare a version of "Call of Duty Online" for submission to the government.

Other companies including Popcap Games, the publisher of "Plants vs. Zombies", have also tried to navigate past rampant piracy in the country by offering freemium games localized for the Chinese market. In May, the company announced it would launch two new exclusive "Plants vs. Zombies" games for China through Tencent, one title as Android app, the other as an online multiplayer title.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?