Sony expands Chinese game incubator to confront Microsoft head-on - Liberty

Friday, September 22, 2023

Sony expands Chinese game incubator to confront Microsoft head-on


The Sony logo is displayed in this shooting illustration. (Dado Ruvic/Image), - Sony Group has revealed plans to expand its program to identify and nurture Chinese games in a race with Microsoft to capture the Chinese games market.

The program will invest more than 1 million yuan ($140,080) in each game you register, and will fund small and large teams with dozens or more engineers, Sony said. Bao Bo, China Game Production Director, said.

The Japanese tech giant's plans were unveiled on Tuesday at an event streamed live from the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu to resume its China Hero Project program, which had been halted due to COVID-19.

"The scale of the third phase will be much larger than the previous two," said Bao, adding that Sony will publish several games and PlayStation Studios will support registered projects.

Sony said it would be the publisher of two games registered in the previous two phases, Lost Soul Aside and Convallaria.

China Hero Project launched its first two-game batches in 2017 and 2019, supporting 17 titles, 7 of which are on the market.

In an interview with Reuters on Wednesday, Bao said the new batch aims to include more than 10 titles and welcomes games of all genres.

This is the latest in Sony's long-standing approach to China, outside of the China Hero Project, which has struck a lucrative exclusive deal with the Chinese hit game Genshin Impact. Little known before its launch in 2019, it has become one of the most profitable games in the world.

Reuters reported last month that Sony's success with "Genshin Impact" has prompted Microsoft to aggressively pitch Chinese game developers with large licensing deals.

To accelerate its expansion, Sony announced that it has formed a "Chinese game production" team to oversee games made in China. The Shanghai branch of Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE), Sony's gaming-focused subsidiary, now employs just under 100 people since it expanded into China in 2014.

Tatsuo Eguchi, president of SIE Shanghai, said the success of Genshin Impact convinced Sony management that Chinese games were essential, and that Sony is allocating more resources to China than ever before. added. He also said that Sony's partnership with Genshin Impact's developer miHoYO is being strengthened.

Sony sells its PlayStation (PS) console in China, where people have traditionally preferred to play mobile-based games.

More than 3.5 million PS4 consoles have been sold in China, and SIE CEO Jim Ryan said around 670,000 PS5s have been sold since its launch in China in May 2021.

Eguchi said Sony's goal is to sell twice as many PS5 consoles as PS4, and he believes the China Hero Project will help achieve this goal.

“We want gamers around the world to better understand the creativity that comes from China. I've been dreaming," he said.

(Source: Reuters)