So close, yet so far: Call of Duty goes free-to-play ... in China

Call of Duty Online
Call of Duty Online

Did you think we American shooter fans would get off that easy? VentureBeat reports that publisher Activision Blizzard has released a free-to-play (F2P) version of its storied Call of Duty franchise to Chinese audiences through Tencent. You know, the same ginormous Chinese social network that hosts localized versions of CityVille, Plants vs Zombies and The Sims Social?

Dubbed simply Call of Duty Online, this F2P take on the mega popular shooter has been in development for over two years, according to VentureBeat. So, we imagine the game is more of the same. Well, Tencent turned down the volume on all that "Amurrica!" messaging, for sure, and probably threw in plenty more Chinese flags to look at. (What? It's what they/we do.)

"We are thrilled to work with the world's premiere game developer and publisher to bring this much-awaited title to Chinese game players," Tencent president Martin Lau said in a release. "We believe Call of Duty Online will attract tens of millions of loyal fans in China, and our game platform and operational expertise to run massive multi-player online games can provide strong support to deliver the immersive and highly interactive game experience to game players in China."

There are two driving reasons why the poster child for brick-and-mortar retail games sales went F2P in China. One, it's the leading mode for gaming in the country--leaps and bounds beyond the West in terms of popularity. Two, if you think piracy is bad here, then take a trip to China and see how far you can walk without seeing a fake game. At this point, you're probably pondering the likelihood of a F2P Call of Duty in the states. Let's just say the odds are similar to that of catching a bullet with your teeth.

Are you bummed that we won't get a F2P Call of Duty in the states in the foreseeable future? Are you hopeful we will? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.

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