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  • Kyle Chua

Microsoft Building Team To Scout Chinese-Developed Games To Compete With Sony

China could soon compete with the West as a hub for blockbuster game developers, with both Sony and Microsoft already scouring the region for properties they could licence.

Credit: Shutterstock via Mashable

Microsoft in particular has taken a great interest in Chinese-developed games after Sony Group Corp struck gold with Genshin Impact, a cross-platform, open-world game developed by the Shanghai-based miHoYo. The game has reportedly amassed billions of dollars since it first launched two years ago, and its success gave Microsoft “a sense of urgency” to look into China’s maturing game development industry.


Citing sources familiar with the industry, Reuters reports that Microsoft has been building a team to scout for Chinese games. The American software giant likely plans to expand its subscription-based offerings with games from Chinese developers. It also plans to bring services like Game Pass to more devices to appeal better to developers like miHoYo which develops games for multiple platforms.


One executive from Recreate Games in Shanghai told Reuters that his company has already signed a deal with Microsoft last year to have its new game, Party Animals, launch exclusively on Xbox. "Xbox contacted many projects in China and these projects primarily focus on developing console and PC games," said Chief Executive Luo Zixiong.


Microsoft, however, would have to play catch-up to Sony in this new market. The latter has set up a number of initiatives over the last few years that have seemingly given it a slight advantage in courting Chinese developers.


In 2017, for instance, Sony launched China Hero Project, an accelerator programme that helped developers publish games on the PlayStation platform. The program supported 17 games, seven of which have already been released.

Genshin Impact. Credit: miHoYo

Then, in 2019, Sony partnered with miHoYo to have the console version of Genshin Impact be a PlayStation exclusive. Sources claim Microsoft regretted missing out on the game. The Xbox maker was supposedly in talks with miHoYo early in the game’s development but failed to reach a deal.


Then again, if the market is truly maturing, Microsoft probably need not worry. Daniel Ahmad, a senior analyst at Niko Partners, points out that there are now more Chinese developers that are capable of producing games that can match the production value of big-budget Western releases.


"Chinese game developers are trying to standardise their development tools, create advanced production processes, and invest in really large-scale teams," Ahmad said. "Ultimately, that helps provide them with the competitive edge to reach a broad audience both in terms of geography and platforms."

 
  • China could soon compete with the West as a hub for blockbuster game developers, with both Sony and Microsoft already scouring the region for properties they could licence.

  • Microsoft has been building a team to scout the Chinese game development industry as it plans to expand its subscription-based offerings with more games.

  • One executive from Recreate Games in Shanghai, for example, said that his company has already signed a deal with Microsoft last year to have its new game, Party Animals, launch exclusively on Xbox.


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