July 3, 2012 at 3:02 PM ET
Game publisher Activision Blizzard and Chinese Internet service provider Tencent announced Tuesday that they will be launching "Call of Duty Online" ... but only for gamers in China.
According to a press release from Activision Publishing, "Call of Duty Online" will be a free-to-play online game with money being made through the sale of in-game items.
Activision says this installment of the best-selling "Call of Duty" franchise has been in development for two years and, according to the "multi-year agreement" revealed Tuesday, Tencent will have the exclusive license to operate it in mainland China.
"We have worked closely with Tencent to create a game with broad appeal for the Chinese market," Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, said in the press release. "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."
In Asia, free-to-play games are commonplace. It's a business model that is slowly gaining traction in North America and Europe, where free-to-play Facebook games have helped players become accustomed to the practice of spending small sums of money frequently rather than one large lump sum on a game.
Still, many criticize the model for essentially allowing players to pay their way a win rather than truly earn it (the more upgrades you fork money out for, the better you do after all).
According to the press release, "Call of Duty Online" will introduce a new gaming model designed specifically for the Chinese market.
This new model will allow players the ability to personalize their weapons, characters and equipment like never before in a Call of Duty game. Using an in-game store, players can enhance their weapons, gear, and perks built specifically for the Chinese market. The new game will also bring a variety of game modes and maps and features an original story told through a series of Special Operations missions based on the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare universe.
Martin Lau, President of Tencent, said his company expects the game to draw "tens of millions of loyal fans in China."
Tencent and Activision have launched this "Call of Duty Online" web site with a handy count-down clock for you check out. Meanwhile, take a look at the trailer here:
Winda Benedetti writes about video games for msnbc.com. You can follow her tweets about games and other things on Twitter here @WindaBenedetti and you follow her on Google+. Meanwhile, be sure to check out the IN-GAME FACEBOOK PAGE to discuss the day's gaming news and reviews.