To western gamers, the online Call of Duty experience is as ubiquitous as breathing air and eating food. The experience for Chinese gamers is a completely different story. The video game consoles we take for granted are banned and only attainable through illegal means, which leaves the PC platform as the last bastion for those wanting to play online games. In an effort to capitalize on the popularity of free-to-play online PC games, Activision has teamed up with Chinese publisher Tencent to bring Call of Duty Online to China. This will be a brand new game in the franchise, and one tailored to the Chinese market.
The news of Call of Duty Online was just announced today, however the project has actually been in the works for the past two years. The game will be a unique entry in the popular series, with a strong focus on the online aspect that has made the series so popular with western gamers. Most of the offerings will consist of segments and set pieces recycled from previously released CoD titles, along with an original story that is inspired by the Special Ops missions in the Modern Warfare games. While the Chinese gaming market has been dominated by MMO titles, first-person shooters have been steadily gaining momentum. CoD Online seems like a natural choice to push the genre forward.
The gameplay and attainable perks in this version will be modified to suit the free-to-play model. Gamers can experience the core game for free, but the revenue will come through micro-transactions. The weapons, perks and other abilities that one would normally gain through level progression can be purchased through an in-game store, which will no doubt make the game highly profitable. The pairing of Tencent, one of the biggest video game publishers in the world, with developers like Activision could also mean a bigger presence for wester games in the Chinese market.
The release date for Call of Duty Online has yet to be confirmed.