Sony Interactive Entertainment held a press conference on August 2nd at ChinaJoy 2018 to provide updates on the PlayStation brand in China. Niko Partners attended the event which provided updates on the China Hero Project as well as new information on AAA title launches. Sony’s PlayStation 4 launched in China on March 20th, 2015 and since then has sold through nearly 1.5 million units in the region. Sony has faced a number of challenges in China, covered in our newly published China Console & TV Based Games report, but is continuing to release new games software and hardware to solidify itself as the console market leader in China.
New AAA games confirmed for China
New overseas AAA games such as Marvel’s Spider-Man and Monster Hunter World were confirmed to release this year with Simplified Chinese support. Monster Hunter World has been extremely successful with over 8 million copies sold globally, a chunk of which were sold to Chinese PS4 users via the grey market.
Domestic titles such as Unearthing Mars 2 from Winking Entertainment and Gene Rain from Deeli Network were also showcased. Perfect World showed off a brand-new battle royale game called Farside. The game is aiming to capitalize on the successful battle royale genre and could potentially be the first officially released battle royale game on PS4 in China. Fortnite and PUBG have been very popular on console in the West, and with Farside being the first official battle royale console game in China it could gain an advantage on the Mainland.
Sony and 2K continue partnership with Gamepoch
Gamepoch and 2K announced at the press conference that they would launch NBA 2K19 in September with simplified Chinese support for mainland China. This follows the success of NBA 2K18, which attracted a large number of players in 2017. In expanding the partnership, we will see NBA 2K19 launch with dedicated servers, full Chinese commentary from famous commentators, such as Yang Yi, as well as a special 20th anniversary version.
China Hero Project enters its second phase
Sony showcased five China Hero Project Games and announced the 2nd phase of the project, which is an initiative led by SIE to support local Chinese developers by providing them with funding, technical resources and publishing support to bring ‘Hero’ titles to PS4 in China and worldwide. The aim for Sony is to develop blockbuster titles, contribute to the growth of China’s console games market and spread Chinese gaming influence overseas. The 2nd phase of the project allows a new round of developers to apply this month in order to be a part of the project.
Kill X, Project Boundary, Hardcore Mecha and Lost Soul Aside had new trailers and gameplay shown at the event. The most interesting project we saw was a brand-new game called Pervader from Light & Digital. The survival shooter game follows the story of a deadly disease outbreak across a Chinese city. The development team is also collaborating with Sony Pictures to create a live action movie based on the game. This is one of the first times we’re seeing Sony use a pan entertainment strategy in China.
Monkey King: Hero is Back launches early 2019
Announced last year, SIE has confirmed that Monkey King: Hero is Back will launch in China during early 2019. The action game is based on the popular Journey to the West IP and is based on the movie of the same name. SIE hopes to bring in more Chinese users into the PS4 ecosystem with this game as well as bring Chinese cultural influence to PS4 gamers around the world.
We had a chance to play the action game on the show floor and were impressed by the fluid gameplay. However, we do note that the game did seem to be based on an early build and that there is room for improvement in the combat system. We look forward to playing the full game when it launches next year.
Sony had an impressive display of games during its ChinaJoy 2018 press conference, but it remains to be seen whether any of these titles will have a significant impact on PlayStation hardware sales in the country. Despite a successful showing, Niko Partners remains cautious about the future of the TV and Console based games market in China. Growth has been slow, and there are more inhibitors than drivers which limits the potential of the market.