Activision Takes Aim At China Market with Tencent 'Call of Duty' Deal

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare - H 2014

Chris Evans stars in a short live-action recreation of the game to promote the news.

Chinese gamers will soon join their global counterparts on Hero Ops single-player missions, cooperative Survival mode and competitive multiplayer settings after the launch of a free-to-play version of Call of Duty in China.

Activision and Tencent Holdings launched the public open beta for Call of Duty Online to hundreds of millions of Chinese gamers, and the free-to-play PC version of the shooter game franchise has already gone live in China. To promote the news, Tencent and Activision created a special short-action sequence for the Chinese market that sees Chris Evans lead a team of local gamers through a Call of Duty mission. 

China is the biggest gaming market in the world, but it is notoriously hard to crack. By teaming up with Tencent, Activision has been able to get around tricky government regulations on video games. A long-term ban on gaming consoles is due to be lifted soon.

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"Led by veteran Call of Duty studio Raven Software, Call of Duty Online draws inspiration from the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Black Ops universes, incorporating beloved modes and maps, as well as Cyborgs," the Santa Monica-based Activision said in a statement.

Players in China will be able to custom-tailor their experience through in-game items for purchase or rent.

"Millions of gamers in the West have come to appreciate that white-knuckled, epic thrill-ride that only Call of Duty delivers," said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision. "And now an entire new audience of gamers will experience this for the first time. We believe Call of Duty Online is going to be a game-changer for Chinese gamers."

Before going beta, the game underwent a variety of alpha and closed beta tests, allowing Raven and development partners at Tencent to hone the experience for China’s massive community of gamers.

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Hirschberg said Activision worked closely with Tencent to create the game tailored for the Chinese market.

"We've worked closely with our partner at Tencent, and throughout testing, the community feedback has been tremendous. We couldn't be more excited, and we look forward to winning the hearts and minds of a new community in China," said Hirschberg.

Steven Ma, senior vp Tencent, said: "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."