Ease up there tiger. Yes, Call of Duty: Online has just been announced. But it’s not quite as big and global as you might think. Instead, Call of Duty: Online appears to be Activision’s attempt to grab some market share of the booming free to play market, specifically in Asia.
For those unaware, the free to play phenomena is shaped a little differently depending on where you are in the world. For us here in Australia, we’re seeing more and more free to play exclusive games coming from smaller developers, across both PC and mobile devices. In Asia however, free to play isn’t the “next big thing”. It’s the big thing. Numerous free to play MMORPGs dominate Korea and China, and Western developers have cottoned on that good money can be made. Crytek has cooked up quite the storm with their free to play shooter Warface, and now Activision hopes to do the same with Call of Duty: Online.
To aid development, Activision has called upon Chinese company Tencent Holdings, best known for providing internet and mobile phone services and products. Among their work are various social networking tools, multiplayer games, media players and more. Given the size of the company, along with their footing in the Chinese market, they appear to be the best partnership choice for Call of Duty: Online.
As it stands, Call of Duty: Online is exclusively targeting a PC release in China. No worldwide release is on the schedule. The game may be playable for those who know their way around the internet’s bits and pieces, but Activision/Tencent may also have restrictions in place to lock out anybody without a Chinese IP.
So there it is. Free to play Call of Duty. We might not be able to play it, but if you’re curious as to what’s in store for those in China (or what you’ll be playing, if you’re reading Rocket Chainsaw from China! 你好!), check out the announcement trailer below.
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