Activision aiming to break China market with Call of Duty F2P game

13 Jan 2015

With China opening up its gaming market to the western world more than ever before, Activision and its blockbuster franchise Call of Duty will be coming to China as a free-to-play (F2P) online title.

Despite having the largest number of gamers in the world, China only allowed the sale of foreign video games in the county just over one year ago with the latest consoles from Microsoft and Sony only officially entering the market towards the end of 2014.

As a result, the largest US gaming companies are rushing to fill the un-tapped market with Activision, one of the most successful in the industry, throwing its hat into the ring with its most successful title, the first-person shooter, Call of Duty.

Having previously created a partnership between themselves and Tencent, a Chinese internet service company heavily invested in the gaming market, China will now find themselves with the new game called Call of Duty Online which will be exclusively available in the country.

Free-to-play, pay-to-win

As is the latest trend for the gaming industry, choosing a F2P model gives the developers more chances to monetise their games for longer durations rather than just purchasing the game from a store by offering customers micro-transactions to purchase new weapons, bonuses or aesthetic items.

However, it has been the view of gamers and developers alike that some F2P games become ‘pay-to-win’ by limiting gameplay unless certain purchases are made.

For Activision, entering the Chinese market couldn’t come soon enough given their latest instalment in the franchise, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, showing as much as a 27pc drop in sales from the previous game and a whole new market could give them a considerable turnaround.

Speaking about the new game, Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision said, “We believe Call of Duty Online is going to be a game-changer for Chinese gamers.”

He continued, “We’ve worked closely with our partner at Tencent, and we’ve challenged one of our most trusted and talented development teams of Raven Software to create a true Call of Duty experience tailored for the Chinese market. We couldn’t be more excited and we look forward to winning the hearts and minds of a new community in China.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic