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!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
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

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

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.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?