At an investor call earlier today (or yesterday, depending), Activision Blizzard CEO of Publishing Eric Hirshberg announced that a free-to-play edition of its industry-stomping Call of Duty franchise would go live in China sometime next year.
Hirshberg also confirmed new entries to previously popular ‘niche’ franchises as well as a mysterious new cross-media entertainment franchise.
As far as the free-to-play Call of Duty title is concerned, this game will be micro-transaction based to generate revenue and will launch “for the exploding market in China,” said Hirshberg. “This effort, although not slated for this year, has tremendous potential in its own right, but will also offer learnings that we can use throughout our organisation,” he added.
New iterations of the Spider-Man, Bakugan and Cabela Hunting franchises were also announced, as they are all “strong franchises with passionate niche audiences that can achieve repeatable and profitable success,” while a game based on the “hit TV shows Wipeout and Family Guy” were mentioned.
In addition, Activision Blizzard will publish only two movie tie-in titles this year, according to Hirshberg, “an all-new X-Men game, tied to the feature film X-Men: First Class and Transformers 3, which will coincide with Michael Bay’s blockbuster movie release.”
As for that mysterious cross-media franchise? Here’s what Hirshberg had to say, echoing Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said in the company’s financial report last night:
“Finally, in just two days at New York Toy Fair, we’ll be announcing a big, broad appeal, new entertainment franchise. It’s an all-new gaming universes that brings together the worlds of toys, video games and online play in a way that I believe to be unprecedented.”
It was also announced in an earlier financial report that two high profile Activision titles, the 2011 edition of Guitar Hero as well as the long-in-development True Crime: Hong Kong, had been cancelled.