Blizzard and NetEase will be entering their ninth year of partnering together to bring Blizzard’s popular games to Chinese audiences. These games include World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and Overwatch. The9, the operator who previously held the contract with Blizzard to bring their games to China, is finally starting to regain their identity in the mobile game space as we saw last week with the acquisition of the CrossFire IP for mobile games.
According to NPD data, Ubisoft has been the top publisher year-to-date in Europe, the US, Canada and Australia. The Division is purportedly the top best selling game in these regions so far in 2016. Notably absent from the list of where Ubisoft reigns are emerging markets and the massive Chinese market. However, Ubisoft has had a strong development presence in China since 1996 and the Shanghai studio is the second largest Chinese video game studio as well as the second largest Ubisoft studio.
In May of this year, it was announced that Mojang would be partnering with NetEase to bring Minecraft to China with deliberate localization. According to Mojang, “The plan is to develop a version of Minecraft tailored for the Chinese market. It probably won’t affect most of you, seeing as you’re probably not based in China.” And now, as seen on Polygon, “The Chinese Mythology Mash-Up Pack, for $4.99, adds 41 new skins, plus an intricately crafted world based on the lore of the Far East.” Localization and adapting a game for local culture are mandatory processes to maximize the potential success of a foreign game entering China’s complex market.
Speaking of the importance of creating and localizing content for China – Dalian Wanda has just opened their second theme park in China to compete with Disney, aiming to open up to 20 more parks by 2020. Wanda also purchased Legendary Entertainment earlier this year to compete more in terms of IP and very recently forged a partnership with Sony. According to the BBC, “At the Nanchang opening, Wanda owner and China’s richest man, Wang Jianlin, said he wanted to move away from Western imports and to establish a global brand based on Chinese culture.”
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