Giant Bomb News

92 Comments

Activision Formally Announces Call of Duty Online

Free-to-play version of Activision's shooter behemoth is aimed at China.

This doesn't look too shabby for a free-to-play game, but we haven't seen it in motion.

Activision has been talking about a microtransactions-based Call of Duty game for the Asian market for years, and it’s finally becoming a reality with the upcoming Call of Duty Online.

Call of Duty Online has been in development within Activision for more than two years, and is set within the Modern Warfare universe. The publisher has aligned with Tencent Holdings Limited to roll out Call of Duty Online, specifically targeted at Chinese players.

This free-to-play version of Call of Duty will allow players to customize weapons, characters, and equipment. In addition to multiplayer modes, there will be Special Operations missions.

“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,” said Activision CEO Bobby Kotick in the release.

I’ve asked Activision if there’s any chance Call of Duty Online will be released outside of China (nothing yet), but Call of Duty Elite seems like Activision’s current path to extract more money out of fans. Never say never, though.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
92 Comments
  • 92 results
  • 1
  • 2
Posted by patrickklepek
This doesn't look too shabby for a free-to-play game, but we haven't seen it in motion.

Activision has been talking about a microtransactions-based Call of Duty game for the Asian market for years, and it’s finally becoming a reality with the upcoming Call of Duty Online.

Call of Duty Online has been in development within Activision for more than two years, and is set within the Modern Warfare universe. The publisher has aligned with Tencent Holdings Limited to roll out Call of Duty Online, specifically targeted at Chinese players.

This free-to-play version of Call of Duty will allow players to customize weapons, characters, and equipment. In addition to multiplayer modes, there will be Special Operations missions.

“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,” said Activision CEO Bobby Kotick in the release.

I’ve asked Activision if there’s any chance Call of Duty Online will be released outside of China (nothing yet), but Call of Duty Elite seems like Activision’s current path to extract more money out of fans. Never say never, though.

Staff
Posted by Var

Now when will something like this come to america (never)

Posted by Autumn_Thunder

But if Black Ops 2 takes place in China, will we see people playing this game?

Posted by probablytuna

Seems like it would be released worldwide if it proves successful in China.

Posted by vince_kupo

we all saw that coming lol

Posted by Hailinel

But is this something that the western market would really want out of Call of Duty?

Posted by ADAMWD

Misspelled publisher in the second paragraph.

Posted by alternate

I wonder if they will localise the plot hooks. Less "America - Hell Yeah! Damn Towel Heads"and more "Invade Taiwan. Kill those Tibetan Monks before they can light themselves on fire.".

Posted by pa21ris

Good luck ever seeing this on Xbox 360.

Posted by PenguinDust

It's free-to-play with micro-transactions. That makes sense for China or any of the Asian-Pacific nations who utilize internet cafes primarily. In North America and Western Europe, consoles and home computers with internet access are the preferred way of gaming. I think Activision can still make more money off retail version of COD in those countries rather than create their own competition by releasing a F2P COD in the West.

It will happen eventually but I can't see it this generation.

Posted by Liquidus

Those just look like screenshots from MW2.

Posted by TheHT

Exciting = profitable

Innovative = more profitable

Posted by Meyers09

Those screenshots look like the Wreckage Spec Ops level from Modern Warfare 2

Posted by Bollard

Uh aren't those screen shots from MW2...

Posted by Zaapp1

I'm trying to figure out exactly what Kotick means by "innovative new games."

Posted by Alphazero

@Hailinel said:

But is this something that the western market would really want out of Call of Duty?

Team Fortress is basically this same business model, just better hats.

At least... so far. MW needs to step up its hat game.

Posted by Danteveli

Great move. While I was in Beijing Call of Duty was really popular. Still it was really hard to buy non pirate version of game. With Free 2 Play model they can earn a lot $$$

Posted by Joker369

That's just MW2 spec ops....

Edited by Rapid

@Autumn_Thunder said:

But if Black Ops 2 takes place in China, will we see people playing this game?

Is the Xbox 360 still banned in China? I guess Black Ops 2 will be on the PC too, but I wonder if Activision is already thinking Black Ops 2 sales will not sell well there, so they are trying instead, to market Call of Duty Online . Wonder if the Chinese government will get upset at Activision now that the game is set in China.

Posted by MeatSim

Until the $60 a year COD games become less profitable I don't see this coming here anytime soon.

Posted by kindgineer

“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,” said Activision CEO Bobby Kotick in the release.

Fucking PR spin. We all know the only reason they are going to release a Pay-to-win over there is because America won't take it. Instead of releasing a solid product with lots of refinements and work, they shy away and take the smallest leap possible. It's going to be riddled with bugs that will be exploited purposefully, and rape the already destroyed micro-transaction market they have over there.

Not that China should be held higher than any other, but this is just a disgusting move with absolutely no dignity.

Posted by theodacourt

I don't think this will make it to the west. If they want people to pay for the micro transactions, they need to provide the best MP they have for it so people will stay. That means having perhaps a subpar or equal experience yearly on discs costing $60 on entry, and people won't pay for it. If they put a better version on the disc then maybe people will buy it and then people won't play the free version and give them micro money. They already have all of the people in the west, they don't need to entice people with F2P stuff.

Posted by FunExplosions

Online game? When in doubt: Asia.

Posted by theanticitizen

@Autumn_Thunder: Call of Duty Online takes place in the Modern Warfare universe, as stated in the article. So...no, BLOPS2 won't be selling there.

Posted by DoktorFaustus

I hope this won't be pay to win..

Posted by Jayzilla

Activision: Spying on and firing employees to keep them from royalties, and keeping you buying our games year after year! Thank you consumers for continuing to allow us to do whatever we want and to treat our employees however we want without consequence!

Posted by Sooty

"This doesn't look too shabby for a free-to-play game, but we haven't seen it in motion."

Free to play games are no longer fair targets for such comments when you have stuff like Hawken, TF2 and LoL, all look like premium products.

Online
Posted by ds8k

Innovative?

Posted by Bourbon_Warrior

@MeatSim said:

Until the $60 a year COD games become less profitable I don't see this coming here anytime soon.

Dont you mean 140 a year! For the 1.5 million COD elite subscribers and counting!

Posted by Marz

weird that they are aiming it at china. This game would do pretty well in the US market as a free2play, just microtransaction character skins, weapon skins, xp boosts. Have a good all-star map selection from previous call of duty games and it'd do well.

Posted by LukeSkywaka

"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".
Translation, we will make a lot of money exploring these suckers

Posted by eloj
@pa21ris said:

Good luck ever seeing this on Xbox 360.

Tragedy: Not getting yet another online shooter on a seven year old console. How will we survive this crisis? News at eleven.
Posted by YOUNGLINK

So much hate. Activision is still a company that wants/needs to make money right?

Posted by MordeaniisChaos

@pa21ris said:

Good luck ever seeing this on Xbox 360.

PC seems more likely given the kind of game.

Posted by Xeirus

@Sooty said:

"This doesn't look too shabby for a free-to-play game, but we haven't seen it in motion."

Free to play games are no longer fair targets for such comments when you have stuff like Hawken, TF2 and LoL, all look like premium products.

TF2 was not F2P until years after release. Hawken isn't out yet.

LoL -does- look like a F2P game.... it's just a really good one.

Edited by eloj
@Marz said:

weird that they are aiming it at china. This game would do pretty well in the US market as a free2play, just microtransaction character skins, weapon skins, xp boosts. Have a good all-star map selection from previous call of duty games and it'd do well.

They've run the spreadsheets which tell them that they'll make more money on the current $60+$60(DLC) model in developed markets. It's only a matter of time though, once they've Guitar Heroed this shit properly I'd expect a F2P version to appear there too.
 
Not to mention, hard to do on their largest SKU, the Xbox 360. Next gen.
Posted by jozzy

@MeatSim said:

Until the $60 a year COD games become less profitable I don't see this coming here anytime soon.

Yup, this is the one and only reason this is China only. Like World of Warcraft, western prices are too high for China, but you can still make a ton of money there if you can implement an alternative, cheaper business model. Sure, this would be a success here too, but why would they do this when millions of gamers will pay full price for the game, and the subscription.

Edited by Sooty

@Xeirus said:

@Sooty said:

"This doesn't look too shabby for a free-to-play game, but we haven't seen it in motion."

Free to play games are no longer fair targets for such comments when you have stuff like Hawken, TF2 and LoL, all look like premium products.

TF2 was not F2P until years after release. Hawken isn't out yet.

LoL -does- look like a F2P game.... it's just a really good one.

What does Hawken not being out yet have to do with anything? It's out there, you can see E3 demos, it looks better than most games around.

Don't see how LoL 'looks' like a F2P game, has better art and style than a lot of paid titles.

and that's all I have to say about that.

Online
Posted by mosdl

@Var said:

Now when will something like this come to america (never)

There is a free to play Battlefield version (based on BF2) that came out a while ago.

Posted by GreggD

@Rapid said:

@Autumn_Thunder said:

But if Black Ops 2 takes place in China, will we see people playing this game?

Is the Xbox 360 still banned in China? I guess Black Ops 2 will be on the PC too, but I wonder if Activision is already thinking Black Ops 2 sales will not sell well there, so they are trying instead, to market Call of Duty Online . Wonder if the Chinese government will get upset at Activision now that the game is set in China.

As far as we know, it's not set in China. It's about a Chinese invasion on US soil.

Posted by AhmadMetallic

@alternate said:

I wonder if they will localise the plot hooks. Less "America - Hell Yeah! Damn Towel Heads"and more "Invade Taiwan. Kill those Tibetan Monks before they can light themselves on fire.".

Why not make the Chinese hate "Towel Heads" aswell? (if they don't already). The more ignorant muslim/arab hatred in the international community, the better (for those who don't want it to go away).

Posted by OllyOxenFree

Get dat Chinese money.

Posted by Kissedtravisc

China Online

Posted by Humanity

@YOUNGLINK said:

So much hate. Activision is still a company that wants/needs to make money right?

No, game developers all wish to make all our inner gamer dreams come true, money is maybe like 5th down on the lists, right after "rainbows for everyone!"

Posted by Maitimo

Wonder how they'll dress it up to be acceptable to that market?

Posted by SockemJetpack

The Chinese market has been huge for Blizzard so why not Activision as well? Hell, they're already rolling out an entire expansion of WoW built around catering to that market. What worries me is if this is the start of something sinister for games that aren't called Call of Duty. If they make a lot of money with this ( and they will ) do we start seeing this kind of thing become more prevalent?

Posted by takkun169

@Jayzilla: Oh but there have been very big consequences for doing that underhanded shit. They lost that court case and if rumors are true it cost them a cool billion. And even if rumors are only half true, That is a TON of money to lose.

Posted by gaggle64

I would be completely on-board with a CoD MW game set entirely from a Chinese perspective.

Posted by SeriouslyNow

@Hailinel said:

But is this something that the western market would really want out of Call of Duty?

There are multiple reasonably successful F2P warshooter MMOs which the US market engages in. If Acticancer stepped in on that market with a compelling product using this brand name, for sure it would generate a sizeable income stream. Thing is, is this something Acti wants messing with their established CoD playerbase in the US? My guess is no. However, soon it may not even matter what they want because if they get sold to EA they will become something else entirely.

  • 92 results
  • 1
  • 2