Activision Blizzard has announced a ‘strategic relationship’ with Tencent Holdings Limited, a leading Internet services provider in China, to bring Call of Duty Online to Chinese gamers.

Tencent has the exclusive license to operate Call of Duty Online in mainland China with the game, confirmed as being in development for two years, free-to-play and monetised through the sales of in-game items.

‘We are very excited about our relationship with Tencent and the opportunities for gaming in China,’ said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard. ‘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.

‘Tencent is an ideal partner for Activision to bring Call of Duty Online to China. Tencent has a terrific track record of customer-focused innovation and deep market knowledge that will be invaluable to Activision as we build great games for China. We have worked closely with Tencent to create a game with broad appeal for the Chinese market. We look forward to laying the foundation for a long-standing relationship with Tencent and to launching a new and unique experience for fans.’

Call of Duty Online will expand on the franchise’s existing multiplayer experience, introducing a new gaming model designed specifically for the Chinese market. This new model will allow players the ability to personalise their weapons, characters and equipment like never before in a Call of Duty game via the in-game store.

The new game will also bring a variety of game modes and maps, and is set to feature an original story told through a series of “Special Operations” missions.

‘We are thrilled to work with the world’s premiere game developer and publisher to bring this much-awaited title to Chinese game players,’ said Martin Lau, President of Tencent. ‘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.’