Free-to-play Call of Duty in China gives copycats a run for their money

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Call of Duty OnlineWestern console game makers have long been barred from the massive Chinese audience, largely due to poor intellectual property rights and difficult barriers to entry (i.e. the console ban) in the country. But now major publishers, like Activision, have opted to enter the market by playing at its own game--no, not copycatting--free-to-play. Hence Call of Duty Online.

The first-ever free-to-play rendition of the mega popular military shooter has entered open beta in China through the country's internet gaming megalith, Tencent, after extensive rounds of closed testing in 2012. According to Kotaku, CoD: OL is simply a free-to-play version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare on PC, complete with Chinese client and user interface. But not only should CoD: OL strike fear into other game developers on Tencent, but into Chinese first-person shooter makers nationwide.

"Tencent's offering of COD:OL may cannibalize Tencent's own lineup, as Tencent is the nation's largest provider of first person shooters," NetEase gaming web editor Yin Jun told Kotaku. "In the long run COD:OL might affect how FPS games are made in China."
This trend is bound to expand beyond shooters, too. Take Japan's hyper popular fantasy action game franchise, Monster Hunter, which developer Capcom recently unleashed on Chinese gamers as Monster Hunter: Frontier. So, how long before Pokemon gets a Chinese release?

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Are you surprised to see a Chinese Call of Duty? Are their any Chinese games that you'd like to see in the West? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.

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