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'Call of Duty Online' launches in China

The Call of Duty franchise has found a formula for China, with the free-to-play, online-only version having launched January 12.

tech reviews Updated: Jan 13, 2015 11:27 IST

The Call of Duty franchise has found a formula for China, with the free-to-play, online-only version having launched January 12.

Zombies are swapped out for shambling cyborgs and multiplayer maps are lifted from titles in the "Modern Warfare" and "Black Ops" sub-series.

Single-player content is available, with a variety of multiplayer modes that encourage both competitive and cooperative play.

Activision and Chinese partner Tencent anticipate a healthy revenue stream via a number of optional extras, such as character customization options and upgraded weapons, equipment, and other perks.

"Over the last few years, we've worked closely with Tencent to tailor Call of Duty Online specifically for the Chinese audience, while maintaining an authentic Call of Duty experience," said Brian Raffel, Studio Head at Raven Software.

The Wisconsin-based team has contributed to the "Call of Duty" franchise since 2010, assisting with the multiplayer components of "Call of Duty: Black Ops" (2010), "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3" (2011), "Call of Duty: Ghosts" (2013) and last year's "Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare."

Raffel described "Call of Duty Online," colloquially referred to as "COD:OL," as "the best moments from the entire Call of Duty franchise along with all-new unique experiences."

As part of the same prepared statement to the press, Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg saw "Call of Duty Online" as an opportunity to bring "that white-knuckled, epic thrill-ride that only 'Call of Duty' delivers," saying that his company looks forward to "winning the hearts and minds of a new community in China."

Activision and Tencent had announced the deal in 2012, when Tencent's most popular game in the genre, "CrossFire," was approaching 4 million simultaneous users.