Activision Taking Their 'Call of Duty Online' Action To China

Activision Blizzard enters into an agreement with publisher Tencent to get Chinese gamers gunning for that Prestige.

The free-to-play shooter is making its way to China after two years of development under an exclusive deal with Tencent, an Internet services and e-commerce company in that company.

Here's the official pitch for the game:

The new game Call of Duty Online for China will capitalize on the rich multiplayer experience that the Call of Duty franchise is known for and introduce a new gaming model designed specifically for the Chinese market. This new model will allow players the ability to personalize their weapons, characters and equipment like never before in a Call of Duty game. Using an in-game store, players can enhance their weapons, gear, and perks built specifically for the Chinese market. The new game will also bring a variety of game modes and maps and features an original story told through a series of Special Operations missions based on the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare® universe.

Why would Activision need another company to release Call of Duty in another company? Part of it, I'd have to imagine, is the price of doing business in China and the many infrastructure and cost issues that could potentially plague a Western company making an entry into one of their markets. Consider Apple, who attempted to bring the iPad to China, only to find that another company was holding the rights to the name there (ultimately Cupertino settled with a $60 million trademark fee). Now consider Activision and Call of Duty: with this relationship with Tencent, there should be some measure of protection in bringing CoD Online to China without having to navigate the potential minefields of Chinese copyright law and distribution issues.

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