NetEase Games held its first ever developers forum in the West, titled “Insight of Fun”, in San Francisco on February 28. Living up to the company’s motto of “good games have no borders”, lead developers of NetEase’s 5 flagship games shared development concepts and behind-the-scene stories with an audience of gamers, industry peers, and reporters. The successful event was a direct reflection of the popularity and traction that NetEase Games has in overseas markets.
“Quality games have no borders. At NetEase, it is our sincere hope to create more high quality and innovative products for gamers around the world,” said Ethan Wang, the Vice President of NetEase, Inc.
“Having deep cultural heritage, paying attention to game security, and keeping up with hot topics bring us success”
Fantasy Westward Journey is the most successful IP NetEase Games ever created in the past 10 years. The secret, according to the game producer Chen Junxiong, is 3 things: having deep cultural heritage, paying attention to game security, and keeping up with hot topics. “They refer to game universe, player experience, and marketing, the holy trinity that makes Fantasy Westward Journey the NO.1 Chinese MMO.” NetEase Games understands that the key to keep an IP alive is to make sure it remains active. That’s why Fantasy Westward Journey mobile game has released 17 major updates since launched in 2015. NetEase Games then introduced in a series of products inspired by the IP including a brand theme song, a documentary, and a Fantasy Westward Journey carnival.
“Mobile games is bringing people closer to arts, culture and emotion”
Jin Tao, Producer of 2016 blockbuster Onmyoji, said that mobile games were not only connecting people with each other in a fun way, but also creating new and deeper connections between players and arts, culture and emotion. The game has gone beyond game in China, it’s a culture, according to Jin Tao. “To create an authentic Heian period’s Onmyoji world, our product development team went to Japan many times to do field research, voice recording and seeking for inspirations,” he explained. “We did our utmost to create an intricate world of audios, visuals, characters and stories for an engrossing gaming experience. We believe that once players relate to the game itself they are more inclined to interact with other players,” he added.
“Combine navigation cues with triggered story events so that players don’t miss key points of the game narrative”
Twilight Pioneers is one of the launch titles for Daydream VR and the game was featured by Google in the collection ‘Get in the game’. Game Producer Yu Kai shared 3 stories during the development of the game, talking about how his team addressed motion sickness, combat skill designed for Daydream Controllers, and game narrative in VR. He believed that first, the more work the developer put into combating motion sickness, the less likely players would suffer from it. Second, developers should be aware of the practical scenarios in which mobile VR games are likely to be played. And finally, combine navigation cues with triggered story events so that players don’t miss key points of the game narrative.
“Our goal is to make a mobile game that can be enjoyed by everyone who has watched the film”— Liu Xi, Producer of Kung Fu Panda 3
Kung Fu Panda 3 was once a very different game in its early development stage, according to Liu Xi. “There were many card games in Chinese mobile game market so we wanted to make one as well,” he said. “We designed 6 chapters of gameplay content included stories and combat. We also created the companion system which was based on card collecting elements.” It didn’t work well in the test, for the card game genre was declining in China, and the game’s combat system was very boring compared with other ARPGs. The team decided to go to a different direction and make a game that was closely connected to the film. “We picked out all classic scenarios in the film and see if it fit in the game one by one. Then we remade the first 6 chapters and added in more stories and elements from the film,” Liu Xi said.
Attendees also got a preview of NetEase Games’ global product plan. “This Spring, we will be launching a deep and immersive 3D-action MMORPG,” said Riten Huang, General Manager of NetEase Games. “Following that, we are excited to bring the popular game, Onmyoji, to audiences in the West. Later in 2017, we also plan to launch a strategy and exploration MMO game created by an international team of developers, including top industry talent from China, the United States, Germany and South Korea.”
Robust financial and operational performance in China forms a solid foundation for NetEase’s overseas expansion. In 2016, revenues of NetEase’s online gaming segment reached $4 billion, up 61.6% year over year. NetEase Games continues to maintain high growth rate and deliver new hit games. After consolidating its market leadership in China, NetEase Games is looking to expand further overseas. When discussing the overseas strategy for NetEase Games, NetEase CEO Ding Lei mentioned that he has ambitious goals to achieve greater results in the non-Chinese gaming markets within the next three to five years.