Almost 3 years ago, I wrote up a small piece about a possible version of Call of Duty being made as a free-to-play game in China. At the time, the move made a bit of sense. With consoles being banned at the time in China, releasing a free-to-play Call of Duty was a great way to get an already popular product in front of a huge audience that had not had a lot of exposure to the game.
Fast forward to today. The 14 year console ban in China was lifted in early 2014, and I’m not so sure that this move makes sense for Activision anymore. That said, Activision and Tencent are moving their free-to-play Call of Duty Online into Open Beta.
Steven Ma, Senior Vice President of Tencent, said, “Since announcing Call of Duty Online, we have gone through a series of alpha and closed beta tests, with each test generating incredibly positive results. Call of Duty Online is a top tier game developed by an elite team and we are honored to bring this highly anticipated title to the Chinese players.”
Call of Duty Online is being developed by Raven Software and draws from the worlds of both Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Black Ops. Don’t expect this version of the game to be released anywhere else though. When the words “exclusively designed for China” appear multiple times in your press releases it’s pretty apparent that there are no plans to take the game elsewhere…although if enough money is made, things can always change.