Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick admitted in a recent interview with CNBC Asia’s Squawk Box that bringing Call of Duty Online to market in China is a risky proposition. While Kotick expresses confidence in Tencent Holdings in making the game based on its popular first-person shooter series successful in Mainland China, Kotick also knows that there is a risk when bringing a Western game into a new market with different business models and player tastes.
"It’s a really big risk, and there's a lot of uncertainty when you go into new markets and try new business models," Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick told CNBC Asia’s Squawk Box. "[But] I think in this case, Tencent has a lot of insights into these types of games, and the game's been in development for 2 years and they've been very, very generous with providing that insight, and hopefully it will materialize into something that's a great experience for players."
Activision and Tencent announced the development of the game for China earlier this week. The game will be free-to-play and will use an in-game store to monetize content. While Tencent is no stranger to China's wild and wooly free-to-play market in the region, Activision has no experience with the market or the customer base at all.
Kotick went on to say that he is cognizant of the difficulties that can occur when entering a new market with a vastly different kind of player base.
"One of the things that we've learned in taking our intellectual properties to different markets is that you have to be compatible and consistent with the way that people play in the market that we operate in," said Kotick. "And in China, that is largely free-to-play with virtualized sales, sometimes paying for time, but it’s a different business model and we're racing for China."