Call of Duty Online on its way to China

Tom Hatfield at

The money printing behemoth that is Call of Duty just got even bigger. Activision have announced Call of Duty Online, a free to play multiplayer version of CoD aimed at the lucrative Chinese market. Chinese law requires that any Western studio wanting to release a game work with a local business partner, so Activision are partnering with Chinese publisher Tencent to make it happen.

But why should we care about a game destined for the Chinese market? Well dear readers, what happens in China no longer stays in China. Games like Crytek's Warface have used a successful eastern release as a springboard to enter the western market.

Exactly what effect a free to play multiplayer Call of Duty would do to the gaming market is an interesting question. The vast majority of Call of Duty's playerbase seem to be in it for the mutiplayer, would they prefer a free version that focused exclusively on that aspect? Or are the increasingly high budget action movie campaigns the real draw? Call of Duty Online might settle that debate forever.

Meanwhile the more orthodox version of Call of Duty lives on in our Black Ops 2 preview.