Activision announced today that Call of Duty is coming to China – for free. The video game publisher has partnered with Tencent Holdings to provide gamers in China with Call of Duty Online, which will be free to play. Tencent is the same Chinese internet, mobile, and telecommunications provider that recently acquired a minority stake in Epic Games.
“We are very excited about our relationship with Tencent and the opportunities for gaming in China,” said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision. “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.”
Activision stated that Call of Duty Online has been in development for around two years. The agreement between Activision and Tencent means that Tencent will have exclusive rights to operate the game in mainland China.
“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,” said Martin Lau, president of Tencent.
Releasing a free to play, online game might just be the only strategy that could work for Activision in China, where piracy of video games is rampant. The companies hope to make money through the sale of in-game items and upgrades. Activision said that players will be able to use the in-game store to enhance their weapons, gear, and perks in ways specifically designed for Chinese gamers. The game will also feature a series of “Special Operations” missions that tell an original story based in the Modern Warfare universe.
Take a look below at the announcement trailer for Call of Duty Online: