China’s biggest game operator Tencent Holdings Ltd has announced it has exclusive licensing in China of Call of Duty Online, a first person shooter game from international gaming giant Activision Blizzard Inc. The launch of the game marks the result of a long-term strategic partnership between the two companies, said Tencent’s chairman and CEO in Shanghai, Pony Ma.

The Call of Duty games, first developed in 2003, are published and owned by US-based Activision Blizzard and run primarily on personal computers.

The online version is tailor-made for Chinese players and adopts a free-to-play charging model. Users pay only to acquire certain equipment for the characters, as opposed to the traditional time subscription model applied in Western online games.

The game is likely to help Tencent extend their dominance of the Chinese first person shooter market, which it currently enjoys with the licensed game CrossFire.

Data from Analysys International shows China’s online game market reached 11.3 billion yuan ($1.78 billion) in the first quarter of 2012. Tencent took the first spot to hold one-third of the share, followed by NetEaseInc and Shanda Interactive Entertainment Ltd.