'Call of Duty Online' announced
Wed, 04 Jul 2012 10:19a.m.
Activision is bringing its Call of Duty series to China as a free online game.
Activision Blizzard Inc said Tuesday that it will publish the game through a partnership with Tencent Holdings Ltd, a Chinese online game company. There is no release date yet, and the contents of the game must still be approved by the Chinese government, as is the case with all games released in the country.
The game is being developed in Shanghai specifically for the Chinese market. Players will be able to customize their weapons and characters by purchasing virtual items in the game.
Call of Duty Online will include a number of modes (which weren't detailed in the announcement) and feature an original story set in the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare universe.
Though Call of Duty is played on game consoles in Western countries, in China people play games online in Internet cafes. Consoles like the PlayStation and the Xbox are almost non-existent there.
"The only way to be successful here is to be local," said Activision CEO Bobby Kotick. Activision had set up the Shanghai studio to develop the game two years ago. Kotick said China is "underappreciated as an inspired, creative source of ideas" for games.
“We are thrilled to work with the world’s premiere game developer and publisher to bring this much-awaited title to Chinese game players,” says Martin Lau, President of Tencent.
“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.”
Though it is working with Activision to operate Call of Duty in China, Tencent has a competitor in the country called CrossFire. It's a military shooter played online for free, with extra weapons and other items available for purchase.
Call of Duty won't be Activision's first venture into China. It already runs the online games World of Warcraft and StarCraft in the country.
Shares of Santa Monica, California-based Activision climbed 52 cents, or 4.3 percent, to US$12.46, following the announcement. The stock has traded in the 52-week range of US$10.40 to US$14.40.
AP / 3 News
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