Call of Duty Online is now in open beta in China, and may bring with it significant changes to China's first-person shooter market, according to an interview with internet company NetEase's web editor Yin Jun on Kotaku.
Call of Duty Online is a free-to-play title created in collaboration between Activision and Chinese developer Tencent and is similar to console Call of Duty titles, The ban on video game hardware in place since the early 2000s prevents Chinese consumers from gaining access to and playing the console versions.
According to Yin, the current most popular modern-set FPS in China is another Tencent title and Call of Duty "clone," strategical shooter CrossFire. Yin calls CrossFire a "shooter for the masses" while Call of Duty caters to more "hardcore" gamers. Yin believes Call of Duty Online will become more popular than CrossFire and other clone shooters on the grounds of being better games.
"Tencent's offering of Call of Duty Online may cannibalize Tencent's own lineup, as Tencent is the nation's largest provider of first person shooters," Yin said. "In the long run Call of Duty Online might affect how FPS games are made in China.
"These AAA titles have a sphere of influence and it doesn't matter when they show up," he added. "Their popularity really only depends on what the games offer for Chinese players, if they are able to cater to Chinese players they will be popular."