After missing “Genshin Impact”, Microsoft is trying to tap the next “similar product” in the Chinese market


Microsoft is actively seeking cooperation with more outstanding developers in China.

According to Reuters, a source said that Microsoft hopes to sign a group of games developed by Chinese manufacturers in order to replicate Sony’s success with “Genshin Impact”. This means that in addition to having a large number of players, China has a good opportunity to become a larger developer market.

Microsoft and Sony have been funding small development teams in recent years to sign top-notch games for their platforms, according to sources. However, Genshin Impact’s global reach adds to Microsoft’s sense of urgency.

Some analysts pointed out that European and American publishers are increasingly interested in Chinese games, indicating that China’s game development industry is maturing. According to Daniel Ahmad, a senior analyst at market research firm Niko Partners, Chinese games are now on a par with high-budget masterpieces in Europe and the US.

“Chinese game developers are working hard to standardize R&D tools, build advanced production processes, and invest in building truly large teams,” Ahmed said. “This will help them gain a competitive advantage in different regions and platforms. attract a wider audience.”

Two industry sources revealed that Microsoft is forming a team to find high-quality Chinese games. Previously, Microsoft added many big-name games to Game Pass, and now it will also pay high prices to sign works from independent studios.

Three years ago, a studio signed a licensing agreement with Microsoft to make its games available on Game Pass. An executive at the studio revealed that Microsoft recently made an offer that was several times higher than the previous cooperation, hoping to sign a sequel to the game three years ago. “We haven’t signed the deal yet because we think we’ll be able to receive a higher offer when we finish developing the game in hand.”

In September of this year, Snail Games, the parent company of “Ark” series developer Studio Wildcard, filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), confirming that in order to allow “Ark: Survival Evolved” and the sequel “Ark 2” to enter Game Pass, Microsoft The snails were paid $2.5 million and $2.3 million, respectively.

Luo Zixiong, CEO of another Shanghai-based developer, Recreate Games, revealed that last year, Microsoft signed a deal with his company for the exclusive rights to the console version of the multiplayer game Animal Party. “Xbox has been exposed to many projects in China, which are mainly for consoles and PC platforms.” Luo Zixiong said.

Microsoft did not respond to an email from Reuters seeking comment.

Reuters believes that compared with Sony, Microsoft’s actions in the Chinese market are slightly slower. In 2017, Sony launched the incubation project “China Hero Project” in China, which aims to help Chinese developers release games for PS consoles. At present, the project has provided support for a total of 17 games, of which 7 have entered the market.

“We have been very low-key for the past two years, but the project is still progressing smoothly.” Kuangyi Zhou, a former manager of Sony’s China Star program, told Reuters in an interview in April this year, “We are proud of all the games that have been successfully incubated in this project… There will undoubtedly be a number of new games coming out in the future.”

In 2019, Sony and Mihayou reached a cooperation. Mihayou was developing “Yuan Shen” at the time, and it was not yet a world-renowned manufacturer. A year later, “Genshin Impact” landed on mobile, PC and console platforms and became a worldwide explosion, but the console version of the game was exclusively owned by PS.

Microsoft regrets missing out on Genshin Impact, two people familiar with the matter said. One of them said that Microsoft had contacted Mihayou in the early stages of the development of “Genshin Impact”, but the two sides could not reach an agreement; the other said that this experience has also prompted Microsoft to more actively seek cooperation with Chinese developers. Cooperation. “Signing Genshin Impact made Sony a lot of money,” the source said.

There is currently no public data showing the revenue of the console version of Genshin Impact. However, according to Sensor Tower data in May this year, the cumulative global revenue of “Genshin Impact” on the mobile platform alone has exceeded $3 billion.

For a long time before this century, Chinese players mostly played overseas games, and domestic games were generally considered to be of poor development quality. Tencent, the giant in the Chinese game industry, also started out by publishing foreign games in its home market.

But as China gradually develops into the world’s largest game market, local studios are continuing to invest more in high-quality game development. At the same time, some developers who used to work for Ubisoft, Activision Blizzard and other top global manufacturers have returned to China, which has further strengthened the strength of Chinese game developers.

Today, many veteran practitioners refer to Genshin Impact as a milestone in the global game industry, praising the game’s industrial quality and smooth, seamless cross-platform gameplay. Apple has also used Genshin Impact to showcase the power of its high-end devices, including the new iPad Air with the latest M1 processor chip.

In 2021, NetEase’s “Eternal Calamity” has also won wide recognition in the industry. Although most Chinese games use the F2P model and make money through in-game purchases, the global sales of “Forever”, priced at $20, has exceeded 10 million copies, which shows people’s confidence in the quality of the game.

“Forever” caught the attention of Microsoft and Sony, according to two people familiar with the matter. One of them mentioned that NetEase is prioritizing working with Microsoft, which added Forever to Game Pass in June.


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