Fantasy multiplayer release Guild Wars 2 is coming to China for the first time with the launch of a closed beta period starting March 11, digital entertainment service KongZhong Corporation announced today.
The Chinese release will feature the same subscriptionless business model introduced to the game in North America and Europe. Users will only need to purchase a copy of the game and will not be charged any additional prices.
Guild Wars 2 China's operation general manager Atlantis Lai said, "Given the game's high quality and beautiful design, compared with free-to-play and time-based pay-to-play games, this business model, where players purchase the game once and then play it for as long as they wish with no subscription fee, has the highest chance to appeal to the broadest base of players in China. As the most important and famous product in the 2014 China PC market, we believe Chinese players will also recognize Guild Wars 2 globally renowned quality."
Those interested in signing up for the China-based beta period can do so here.
Guild Wars 2 first launched in North America in 2012, making it one of a handful of Western multiplayer titles to open its doors to China. Likewise, Blizzard's massively multiplayer behemoth World of Warcraft made its debut in China in 2005, one year after its North American release. The game, however, was later censored by the Chinese government, with references to skulls and blood taken out. It's unclear if Guild Wars 2 will experience similar changes. We've contacted ArenaNet for comment.
The country recently lifted its ban on the sale and production of foreign game consoles with the introduction of a "Free Economic Zone" in Shanghai. China's video game industry brought in $13 billion in revenue in 2013, a 34 percent increase over 2012's $9.7 billion figure. Of that figure, console games unsurprisingly only generated roughly $15 million in total revenue.