Saturday, May 25, 2024

Tencent, NetEase to release new titles back to back in sign of intensified rivalry

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Chinese tech giants Tencent Holdings and NetEase announced back-to-back new title releases, in a sign of intensified competition among the country’s top two video gaming publishers, as other Big Tech firms throw in the towel.

NetEase, the country’s second-largest online gaming firm, plans to release about a dozen new games next week, including titles in collaboration with big-name franchises Marvel Entertainment and The Lord of the Rings, the company announced on Monday.

The company will announce new updates to a series of existing titles such as the popular casual party game Eggy Party, it said.

NetEase’s releases will face off against new titles that Tencent is adding to its game portal WeGame on Sunday. The Steam-like video game distribution platform is set to introduce dozens of new titles, according to an announcement by the platform on Monday. It did not offer any details about the games.

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Tencent, which operates the world’s largest video gaming business by revenue, has not yet announced a date this year for its largest annual game release event, the Spark conference.
The competition between Tencent and NetEase has grown more heated recently as rivals like TikTok owner ByteDance have retreated from the industry that has proven challenging for new entrants. Beijing has also been seeking to show support for the industry by granting more licences in recent months after an industry crackdown in 2021.

Recent approvals have included some highly anticipated titles.

Dungeon & Fighter (DnF) Mobile, developed by Japanese-Korean game studio Nexon and operated in China by Tencent, received a licence from the National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) in February. Tencent said the game will launch next Tuesday.
Black Myth: Wukong, one of the most-awaited titles by Chinese gamers, also received approval from NPPA in February. The action role-playing game, developed by Hangzhou-based studio Game Science, will launch on personal computers in August, according to the developer’s website.
NetEase received the green light to launch several games in its pipeline, as well, including the shooting game Ashfall, previously known as Code 56. The company is slated to launch the game for both mobile platforms and personal computers at its annual release event next week.
NetEase received the green light to launch the shooting game Ashfall, previously known as Code 56. Photo: Handout
The company also received NPPA approval to release a PC version of its hugely popular mobile game Diablo Immortal, which NetEase launched in China in 2022 as part of the 25-year-old Diablo franchise. NetEase worked with the franchise owner Blizzard Entertainment to develop the game.

The publishing regulator has continued to step up the pace of approvals as Chinese authorities try to restore confidence in the industry.

In January, the NPPA retracted a draft proposal published in December that aimed to put a cap on user spending in games and ban “excessive” rewards. The response from investors to the draft wiped at least US$80 billion in value from Chinese video gaming stocks listed in Shanghai, Hong Kong and New York.

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