Activision Blizzard has closed a multi-year partnership with Tencent, a Chinese Internet giant, to bring the Call of Duty Online game to China. Activision Publish, a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, has been developing the title for the past two years. The game is said to be free-to-play, although money can be plopped down for in-game items.
Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, sheds some light on the benefits of such a partnership:
“We are very excited about our relationship with Tencent and the opportunities for gaming in China. We think China is one of the most exciting places in the world for us to grow our business and to develop innovative new games.
“Tencent is an ideal partner for Activision to bring Call of Duty Online to China. Tencent has a terrific track record of customer-focused innovation and deep market knowledge that will be invaluable to Activision as we build great games for China. We have worked closely with Tencent to create a game with broad appeal for the Chinese market. We look forward to laying the foundation for a long-standing relationship with Tencent and to launching a new and unique experience for fans.”
Martin Lau, President of Tencent, went on to say:
“We are thrilled to work with the world’s premiere game developer and publisher to bring this much-awaited title to Chinese game players. 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.”
A trailer is circling around that shows maps from the first two Modern Warfare titles, although no evidence of maps from Modern Warfare 3 have been gathered as of yet. The title will also feature a multitude of game modes ands maps as well as an original story told through a series of Spec Ops missions.
Analysis: If you have any doubt that this will make a boatload of money for Activision, let my just point out that, outside of Call of Duty’s incredible popularity, Chinese company Tencent already accounts for a third of all Chinese online games revenue. This partnership is very much two powerhouses joining together to take over a share of the free-to-play market.
On a side note, this isn’t even the first foray into Western game companies for Tencent. Just last month, they acquired a minority stake in Epic Games, and last year it purchased a majority stake in Riot Games. I’d be shocked if this wasn’t a success for Bobby Kotick and Co.
The free-to-play model has seen an incredible amount of growth over the past year, not only in the sheer number of titles adopting the model but also in the quality of the games themselves. The stigma that comes with the free-to-play label is slowly fading away, and a successful Call of Duty title would certainly aid that effort. Looks like over all productivity in China might just take a hit if the title attracts the “tens of millions” that Activision is hoping for.