The R&D strength of Chinese game developers is increasingly gaining recognition among global industry giants. Microsoft is now trying to stockpile content from China, which could be due to the success of Sony, its major rival, in introducing miHoYo’s game “Genshin Impact” to the PlayStation platform, according to an October 25 report by Reuters.
According to 21st Century Business Herald, a senior game industry source revealed that Microsoft is currently in business contact with a leading Chinese game developer, but the precise nature of the partnership is unknown. In March of this year, Rod Chang, Senior Director of Asia Gaming at Microsoft, said that Microsoft’s Xbox is planning to set up a new team in China to help local games expand overseas.
Microsoft is increasing investment to search for more Chinese game developers. Naraka Bladepoint, an action-adventure battle royale game published by NetEase, China’s second-largest game maker, previously attracted the interest of both Microsoft and Sony, entering the former’s subscription game library in June. In October, Dyson Sphere Program, a factory simulation game developed by Chinese game company Youthcat Studio, joined Microsoft’s camp.
Genshin Impact is currently one of the most popular games in the world. According to data compiled by Sensor Tower, on October 25, the game ranked in the top 10 among paid adventure games in app stores in 10 countries including the United States, Japan, United Kingdom and Australia.
The success of the Genshin Impact is a microcosm of the increasing quality and popularity of Chinese games. Daniel Ahmad, an analyst at Niko Partners, pointed out in a tweet that Chinese games are now comparable to those developed at a high cost in the US. “Naraka Bladepoint from NetEase is a recent example, with more in the pipeline,” he wrote.
However, compared with Sony, Microsoft is still a latecomer to the Chinese game market. Sony established its China branch as early as 1996. It has cooperated with dozens of local developers such as Netease, Ourpalm, and Happy Elements Limited for PlayStation and VR businesses. In addition, classic Chinese intellectual properties such as Xuan-Yuan Sword, The Legend of Sword and Fairy, and F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch have also been released on the PlayStation console.
Sony launched its “China Hero Project” in 2017, aimed at supporting domestic developers to release games for PlayStation. So far, it has supported 17 works, of which seven have been released to digital shelves.