Sony Group Corporation (“Sony”) announced on Tuesday that it plans to invest more resources in China so that it can identify and incubate Chinese-made games under China Hero Project and take on competitors such as Microsoft.
The company said that it is also officially re-launching the China Hero Project programme, which was brought to a halt due to COVID-19.
For those unaware, China Hero Project is the incubation project initiated by SIE (Sony Interactive Entertainment) to help China local developers create good console games.
According to a report published by Reuters, Sony is planning to invest more than 1 million yuan ($140,080) in each China-developed game that the company incubates through its programs.
This move from the Japanese tech giant comes at a time when Microsoft is aggressively chasing Chinese game developers with big licensing deals after the Redmond giant missed out on making the Chinese hit game “Genshin Impact” an Xbox exclusive.
Bao Bo, Sony’s Director of China game production said that the company will not only invest in small teams but also big teams with dozens of engineers or more, in exchange for Sony’s exclusivity on the games. It is calling the next set of projects it signs as the “third season.”
“The scale of the third season will far exceed the previous two,” Bao said, adding that the company will publish some games. Also, the PlayStation studios will be available to provide additional support for enrolled projects.
Sony will reportedly publish Lost Soul Aside as well as the multiplayer third-person shooter title Convallaria, two games enrolled in the previous two seasons, under the program.
More About The China Hero Project
Under the China Hero Project, Sony has so far funded 17 games in 2017 and then 2019 respectively, of which seven have reached the market. Some games already released under the project are Anno Munitionem and F.I.S.T.: Forged in Shadow Torch.
Outside of the China Hero Project, Sony tasted humongous success in “Genshin Impact”, which it received a lucrative exclusivity deal with. It went on to become one of the world’s most profitable games.
As part of the expansion of its Chinese games business, Tatsuo Eguchi, President of SIE Shanghai said it is eager and hoping to sell twice as many PlayStation 5 (PS5) consoles in the country as the PlayStation 4 (PS4) in China. He believes that the China Hero Project could help achieve this goal.
The company has managed an install base of about 3.5 million PS4 consoles units in China, while the PS5 has already sold about 670,000 units since its launch in China in May 2021, says Jim Ryan, CEO of Sony’s gaming-focused subsidiary SIE.
“We want gamers around the world to better understand the creativity that comes from China. I have always had a dream which is for console gaming to become a regular part of daily entertainment for Chinese people,” Eguchi said.