In some ways, it seems inevitable. In others, it seems completely atypical, what with all the subscription models and huge amounts of money coming in. Call of Duty is going free to play, only not anywhere near you, so long as ‘you’ means someone who doesn’t live in China. If you live in China, congratulations! You get to play Call of Duty Online, the free to play iteration of the phenomenally successful FPS that is headed your way sometime in the near future.
According to VG24/7, the game is being created in collaboration with Tencent, the same company that’s handling Crytek’s impressive looking Warface, and while plenty of Modern Warfare 1 and 2 maps are shown in the trailer (below), nothing from Black Ops or Modern Warfare 3 is shown, which makes it seem like this is going to be fed levels from iterations a few years behind the current releases, which should keep it from cannibalising any sales. Activision absolutely hates cannibals.
The game should do well, as it’s already broadly structured like a free to play game, with all the persistent unlocks and map packs, and turning those from a torrent into a trickle should be more than enough incentive for people to loosen the purse strings. Or unfold the wallet. Or unzip it. Or however you get your money these days.