NetEase Games Holds First “Insight of Fun” Overseas Forum
NetEase held its developers forum, titled "Insight of Fun", in San Francisco on February 28. At the forum, the company’s top-notch game producers including Chen Junxiong (Fantasy Westward Journey Mobile), Jin Tao (Onmyoji), Yu Kai (Twilight Pioneers), Liu Xi (Kung Fu Panda 3 official mobile game), and Wang Xi (War Rage) shared their experiences and the company’s global strategies with industry peers.
Ethan Wang, VP of NetEase, revealed NetEase Games’ globalization strategy. Insight of Fun marks NetEase Games’ first overseas independent forum held in an open and collaborative spirit. With the success of the forum, NetEase Games plans to continue holding Insight of Fun in the future. The forum allows low-profile NetEase Games developers to not only focus on the products but also to share their experiences in game design with top overseas game developers. Furthermore, the forum enables a wide dispersion of NetEase Games as well as broaden developers’ creative vision.
In terms of product globalization, Riten Huang, General Manager of NetEase North America, revealed that NetEase Games began launching new games in overseas markets this year. Following the launch of Immortal Conquest in January 2017, the widely acclaimed Onmyoji is poised to enter the Western market very shortly.
War Rage, a new 3D game, also made its debut at the forum. According to producer Wang Xi, War Rage was designed for- and will be released to- the global market. The game’s development lasted nearly five years and is of strategic importance to Netease Games. It will become an important part of the company’s overseas product portfolios.
In the past year the in-house developed products of NetEase Games yielded brilliant results. Equally impressive is that NetEase won the exclusive licensing rights to Minecraft in the Chinese mainland market. Rod Chang, Director of Minecraft China, was present at Insight of Fun to share with attendees how the world-renowned game will be catered for China.
Fantasy Westward Journey Mobile: Innovate classic IP and craft social networking experience
Many people will first think of Fantasy Westward Journey Mobile when talking about a “national game”. According to the latest annual report jointly released by App Annie and IDC, Fantasy Westward Journey Mobile became the world's best-selling mobile game on iOS platform in 2016, proof of the game’s immense popularity.
Fantasy Westward Journey still remains popular 13 years after it was released. Producer Chen Junxiong once called the game "a living totem in China's online games market." According to Mr. Junxiong, there are three reasons behind the game’s vitality: the game’s world view, the player’s game experience, and the game’s marketing.
Chen emphasized the role mobile games play in social networking when explaining how it gained recognition of existing PC players while attracting new players after the game was moved to the mobile devices.
"We integrated a social networking system to turn Fantasy Westward Journey into a society with strong bonding and relationships between hundreds of millions of players,” he explained.
Onmyoji: What do mobile games connect?
Two months after launch, Onmyoji’s DAU exceeded 10 million, making it an anomaly in the mobile game market in 2016. It also won multiple awards including Top Ten Games of 2016 in China’s iOS App Store and Facebook's 2016 Best Mobile Games.
On February 24, the second day after launch in Japan, Onmyoji soared to the top ranked free game in Japan’s App Store. It had previously also risen to become a top 10 game in the App Stores’ Top Grossing of United States, Canada, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.
The success of Onmyoji is not only reflected in the data. Its producer Jin Tao shared the game’s influence on players' daily lives as well as on ACGN culture. In his view, Onmyoji’s success embodies the fact that mobile games connect people with emotions.
"Mobile games, as a medium of presenting virtual worlds to people's minds, show the possibility of an alternate reality. It is a form of culture, a representation of art, and beyond those it is a magic box in which people can project their emotional needs. You never know what you will see after the box is open; you may see anything - whatever you can imagine - or even something that you cannot imagine. This is the infinite creative power of games,” Jin explained.
Twilight Pioneers: the pitfalls in the development of VR games
Twilight Pioneers, the product NetEase used to explore the VR mobile game market, was selected to be one of the initial games on Google Daydream. It was also one of the top ten most downloaded games among Google Play VR games. Different from the previous two producer presentations, Yu Kai's speech placed more emphasis on technologies.
In Twilight Pioneers’ test period, the development team focused on solving motion sickness issues, improving players’ operating experience, and shaping the game’s world view, in order to provide players with a brand new experience.
To allow a broader audience to experience the fun of VR games using different settings, Twilight Pioneers plans further improvements and versions. "In this way players can enjoy our games even if they don’t have a swivel chair,” Yu explained.
Kung Fu Panda 3: Hollywood IP competing in China’s games market
The success of Kung Fu Panda 3 is somewhat out of people’s expectation. What is the best way to turn a Hollywood movie with Chinese elements into a mobile game and then re-export to the international market? Producer Liu Xi shared his team’s unique experience.
Different from most mobile games which are created on the basis of card games simply using the names and characters of movies, Kung Fu Panda 3’s visual graphics are highly identical to the movie; the game’s level design is deeply related to the movie’s plots as well. In addition, Liu Xi’s team carefully honed a variety of details. For instance, it showcases kung fu using intense fights between characters, and uses comedy elements to show Po's humorous character.
Kung Fu Panda 3’s stunning performance in the South Korean market once again proved the competitiveness of the product. It topped various rankings and won Popular Game of the Year in the South Korean Google Play store - becoming the first Chinese game to be listed in South Korean Google Play Yearbook.
The speeches by NetEase Games top producers demonstrated the developers’ meticulous attitude towards games and their profound love for games.
Why has NetEase Games been so successful for the past 17 years? Why do players have the consensus that games produced by NetEase are high-quality games? Why has NetEase Games continued to perform well against the backdrop of the China’s diminishing demographic dividend?
The forum’s theme "Insight of Fun" seems to have given the answer: behind the deep insight into the market and the players is NetEase Games’ dedication to users and to the fundamental nature of games.