Never one to overlook a global economic superpower, Activision Blizzard is preparing a micro-transaction-based Call of Duty title specifically for the Chinese market.
Not much is known about this new game — actually its existence is only confirmed by a seven word blurb in the newly-released Activision Blizzard quarterly earnings report — but the idea of a Call of Duty sequel/spin-off/whatever with a dominant micro-transaction component raises interesting questions.
The capitalist motivation behind the game is obvious, but one wonders why Activision Blizzard feels the need to create a special version for the Chinese market. If it were a censorship thing, I could understand that given China’s notorious history of government control, but that wouldn’t really explain the micro-transaction bit, would it?
The only explanation I can think of here is piracy. Certain parts of China have long been hotbeds of software piracy, and in relying entirely on relatively small downloadable content releases to fund the development of the game, Activision Blizzard can avoid the financial hit of pirates reselling copies of its latest $60 action title for $10 on a Beijing street corner.
Actually, the company could even earn great dividends from gamers who purchase the game itself from black market sources, yet still wind up shelling out cash for a new set of virtual camo pants or a gold-plated Kalashnikov.
Say what you will about Activision Blizzard milking successful series dry, but you can’t fault the capitalist acumen at work.