Free-to-play Call of Duty coming to China

An announcement made by Activision Blizzard has detailed the company’s strategy to bring a free-to-play version of Call of Duty to China. Teaming up with one of China’s largest internet service providers Tencent, they will be bringing the title Call of Duty Online to China under the standard free-to-play model where profits come from in-game items sold for real money.

Tencent will operate the game in China exclusively, under licensing from Actvision Blizzard. A release date was not yet announced.

On stage at the press conference Activision CEO Bobby Kotick spoke on stage, and shook hands with Martin Lau, President of Tencent.

“We are very excited about our relationship with Tencent and the opportunities for gaming in China,” said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard. “We think China is one of the most exciting places in the world for us to grow our business and to develop innovative new games.”

The game has reportedly been under development for two years, and from video and screen captures the game appears to look very much like Modern Warfare 2. It will have a number of features and purchasable items that will be catered to the Chinese market according to Activision Blizzard.

They also claim that the game will feature a level of weapon and character customization never seen in a Call of Duty release before. Other details released included a story driven experience based on special ops missions. It seems that all parties involved are hoping that the Call of Duty franchise captures the attention of the Chinese with similar success as the rest of the world. With a market of billions of people, it’s not hard to understand why.

“We believe Call of Duty Online will attract tens of millions of loyal fans in China, and our game platform and operational expertise to run massive multi-player online games can provide strong support to deliver the immersive and highly interactive game experience to game players in China,” claimed Lau.

There has been no word about a release outside of China.