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

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?