‘Call of Duty Online’ Goes Live in China

Promotional art for the video game "Call of Duty Online", a free-to-play first-person shooter available in China from Activision and Tencent. (PHOTO CREDIT: Activision/Tencent)

Activision’s Call of Duty Online has officially begun its assault on gamers in China.

In the works for more than three years, the free-to-play first-person game is now in open beta testing, which means the game publishers are ready to “open the floodgates,” said Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg.

Developed with leading Chinese Net company and game publisher Tencent, Call of Duty Online brings Activision’s billion-dollar franchise to China’s millions of online gamers.

“We have been going through this very intense testing of the game under larger and larger audiences of consumers,” he said. “We wanted to make sure it was sticky and compelling … and it was a fun, easy experience for anyone to pick up and play and have a good time with.”

China represents a massive opportunity for the video game maker. About 700 million play video games on Tencent’s own QQ network, says Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter. And video game revenues in China hit $15 billion last year.

Both Microsoft and Sony last year announced plans to market their console game systems in China. However, Sony said last week said it would delay the Jan. 11 PlayStation 4 launch in China with negotiations ongoing.

During a closed beta conducted July-September last year, about 1.5 million players were involved.

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Mike Snider

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