Sony and Microsoft are “jealous” for “Yuan Shen”? The never-ending journey of Chinese console games

Reuters broke a piece of news today, saying that the unprecedented success of Sony’s investment in the popular game “Genshin Impact” will prompt Microsoft to make more investment in China’s video game industry.

Since the release of Genshin Impact in 2020, the console version of the game has been a PlayStation exclusive. Since its launch two years ago, “Yuan Shen” has generated billions of dollars in revenue. Although there is no specific disclosure, Sony, as the host platform, must have followed suit.

What’s even more interesting is that according to people familiar with the matter, Microsoft had communicated with Mihayou as early as the early stage of the development of “Yuan Shen”, but unfortunately it failed to reach an agreement in the end. This kind of “obviously my first plot” is deeply loved by players and has caused a lot of discussion.

Regardless of whether the news that Microsoft missed “Genshin Impact” is true or false, judging from the increasingly rich Chinese game lineup on the console platform in recent years, Chinese manufacturers are indeed no longer insignificant “transparent people” on the console platform. ” status.

Sony has always attached great importance to the Chinese market. In 2017, it launched the “China Star Program”, which aims to help Chinese developers release games on PlayStation consoles, and has supported ten projects such as “Shadow Torch City” and “Hardcore Mecha”. Various projects. Games such as “Lost Souls” and “Frontier” that have not yet been released are still expected by many players today.

Although Microsoft didn’t grab “Genshin Impact”, it brought the phenomenal product “Eternal Heist”, which sold as high as 10 million, to Game Pass. Other domestic manufacturers such as Recreate Games have also signed an agreement with Microsoft to allow products such as “Animal Party | Party Animals” to be launched on the Xbox platform and join XGP. As Luo Zixiong, CEO of ZS Technology, said: “Xbox has approached many Chinese game projects, mainly focusing on projects developed for consoles and PCs.”

Nintendo’s switch platform is like a paradise for domestic independent game teams. In the past two years, we can see that many independent games will be saved as a copy on NS after they are launched on the Steam platform. Products such as “The Land of the Wind” and “Holy Maiden Battle Chess” have shown a high degree of fit with NS. And according to the previous exchanges between the game top and domestic developers, the NS channel for domestic games is now more and more convenient.

Looking back on the growing momentum of domestic games on the console platform in recent years, I can’t help but think of the attempts of many pioneers. Have domestic games really been playing tricks on console platforms in the past? Why has this channel “farthest” away from Chinese manufacturers made a dazzling leap in recent years?

An unfamiliar glimpse

As we all know, for quite a long time, Chinese games have been a rare species on the console platform. After all, before the seventh generation, there were very few “Chinese games”, let alone games made in China? But in this case, there are still brave predecessors working hard to develop the host market.

For example, Yuquan International, the developer of “Meteor Butterfly Sword” well-known to old players, once launched a game called “Iron Phoenix” on the Microsoft Xbox platform in 2005, allowing global players to see the multiplayer produced by the Chinese team. How unique is the online battle game.

This “Iron Phoenix” supports up to 16 people’s Xbox Live online battle function. In team mode, you can also display gorgeous and powerful multiplayer skills, and the action gameplay is quite solid. It can be said that in that era when console online games were far from mature, Yuquan International gave a very pioneering answer.

“Iron Phoenix” by Yuquan International

Also in 2005, Shanghai Jima Software wanted to launch the Westward Journey-themed game “Monkey King” on the PS2 platform, but it was reluctantly canceled. Originally, it was authorized by Sony, and it was possible to participate in the Tokyo Game Show, but it died prematurely due to changes such as the withdrawal of investors and the departure of company veterans. Looking at the old news that “the company and the investor have decided to only do game subcontracting and mobile games in the future after negotiation”, it is quite embarrassing. I don’t know if the creators who dreamed of Journey to the West were paying attention to “Black Myth: Wukong”?

In the seventh generation led by PS3/X360, domestic games seem to be recovering on the console platform. What impresses me the most is the action game “The Wind and the Wind”, which was launched by Shanghai Swing Software on the X360 platform in 2012. This hardcore action game with ink style rendering and focusing on Chinese kung fu is unforgettable to this day. It is a pity that such a single seedling is still difficult to support the mainstay of domestic stand-alone games.

The wind and the clouds, a great game

But in the eighth generation after the launch of PS4/XBOX ONE, everything has changed. On the one hand, the 13-year-old ban on game consoles was officially lifted in 2014, and the more general R&D architecture of this generation of consoles is feasible in terms of objective conditions; on the other hand, after years of exploration, Chinese developers have Finally, we have made great progress, and we can launch more products that meet the quality standards.

So when the PS4 national version was launched, I was surprised to find that there were products such as “Jiuyang Shengong” escorting the host. At the beginning stage of PS4, this domestic martial arts MOBA developed by Snail Games also caused a lot of discussion.

After that, independent games such as “Rain and Blood: Mirage”, “Ai Xi”, “Hidden Dragon” and other independent games have been launched on PS4, and well-known domestic RPGs such as “Legend of Sword and Fairy 6” and “Xuanyuan Sword: The Gate of the Vault” have also begun to face Host porting. Since then, the introduction of domestic games to the console platform has gradually ceased to be news worth reporting.

Overall, for a long time, domestic games have been completely unpopular on the console platform, and at most it is a state of “rare things are expensive”. For domestic game manufacturers, logging into the console does not seem to be a valuable option, at least not the first choice for monetization.

There are many reasons for this situation. Due to the special market environment in China and the popularity of Chinese-themed games, domestic games do not have any advantages on console platforms with more diverse and mature products. Moreover, after Chinese-themed games go abroad, the gap of understanding brought about by them also greatly affects product dissemination. Once you can’t get a response in the overseas market, then the significance of logging in to the host is actually not that big. If you want to conquer the domestic market, aren’t PC and mobile a better choice?

But this situation has clearly ushered in a new turning point in the latest generation.

Has the era of Chinese-made consoles come?

First of all, it is naturally because the rapid development of China’s game industry has made the world look at it. Not to mention gameplay design, in terms of hard technical aspects, Chinese manufacturing has already caught up a lot. Whether it is a stand-alone game such as “Gu Jian Qi Tan 3” and “The Legend of Sword and Fairy 7”; online games such as “Tianya Mingyue Dao OL” and “Anti Shui Han OL”; or a multi-end phenomenon-level product such as “Yuan Shen”, All of them show the great progress made by Chinese game manufacturers in the level of research and development.

Secondly, after the rise of the independent game trend, it took root in China and incubated many excellent teams and works. After all, the rise of China’s game industry has mainly originated from online games and mobile games, and there are certain deficiencies in the development of stand-alone buyout products. With the trend of independent games, China began to launch well-known stand-alone products, expanded themes, honed technology, and further responded and attracted the attention of overseas capital.

In the end, the demand for content by the game console giants has reached a new height of “hunger and thirst”. Especially for manufacturers like Sony and Microsoft that cannot fully rely on first-party IP to operate, this generation must have more fierce competition for content.

The XGP policy that Microsoft vigorously promotes urgently needs content support for various types of products. Cooperation with Chinese manufacturers is undoubtedly a cost-effective choice. Sony has not only started to operate a subscription system, but also very eager to have long-term service-oriented games to fill the platform. Chinese manufacturers are naturally suitable for corresponding cooperation. Before Sony’s self-developed service-oriented games are tested on the market, wouldn’t it be beautiful to have “Genshin Impact” come out to support the scene?

It is true that for quite some time to come, Chinese games that log on to the console platform will still play an icing on the cake.

However, the platform policy and market conditions in this era are undoubtedly the most suitable moment for Chinese manufacturing to show its strength. While the console platform is actively seeking cooperation from Chinese manufacturers, I think some domestic manufacturers who have spare capacity can also try to do more development on the console and seek a model suitable for domestic games. Yu, to pass the charm of Chinese manufacturing to global players through the host platform.