The below is a round up of all the important information shared during the PlayStation China conference in Shanghai today. Please note that the announcements made at this event were tailored towards the China Mainland market and will have minimal effect on the rest of the world, unless otherwise stated. This won’t go too in depth, but will attempt to show the impact of each announcement.
Hiroyuki Oda, SIEJA executive vice president, said , “China is an important market for Sony Interactive Entertainment Japan Asia, we have been committed to bringing the newest and coolest PlayStation® game content and hardware products for Chinese users. At the same time, we hope to vigorously support game developers in China . We want to help China‘s original console games succeed on the world stage, and contribute to the development of China‘s game industry. ”
Sony Interactive Entertainment held a Press Conference at ChinaJoy 2016 today. Hiroyuki Oda and Takehito Soeda both took to the stage in order to talk about what was new for the world of PlayStation in China. In the last ChinaJoy press conference, Sony had announced a number of brand new game titles which have slowly been released over the past year. Some are still missing or have been rejected by the government. There have always been many barriers to entry for foreign games (covered in my previous articles) and so Sony are keen to push local Chinese development.
Sony announced a brand new initiative called the “China Hero Project” as a way to support local game companies in China. The project is designed to assist in the production of more Chinese developed games for PlayStation and then to distribute them both in China and global markets. The first game to take advantage of this initiative was a locally developed game called “Project Boundary”. The game is being developed by Studio Surgical Scalpels, a games studio based in Guangdong. Their title is utilising Unreal Engine 4 to create a first person shooter set in space for PlayStation 4 & PlayStation VR. The game will launch in the China Mainland and then will look to launch worldwide after.
The project brings together many middleware, engineering, financial & marketing companies in order to assist these local Chinese developers and help them create a “Hero” project. This is something that Sony have talked about since launch and so it’s great to see that they’re finally implementing this officially in the country. It’ll certainly be interesting to see just how many developers will jump on to this project and in turn that could lead to a more successful console games industry inside China with the cultural influence spreading outside of China as well.
Sony also confirmed that the PlayStation 4 is selling better in Asia compared to the PS3 and PS2. The console has struggled to find an audience outside of a niche in China but PS4 continues to remain the number 1 selling console in China and has the most potential for growth. The slew of games announced today will certainly increase the appeal of PS4 to Chinese consumers and if Sony are able to get the games approved to launch them on time then we could see a somewhat notable boost in PS4 shipments to China this year.
The big highlight of the show was certainly Final Fantasy 15. Hajime Tabata took to the stage to confirm that the game, movies, animation, VR experience and other items from the Universe of Final Fantasy would be launching in China with Simplified Chinese localisation. Chinese consumers would also have the options to buy the limited edition SKU’s that are being advertised in the West. Square Enix said that their previous games have performed well in China and they want to bring more content to the country in time. The issue once again was that Square Enix could not commit to a date for release as the game was still awaiting approval by the government.
One of the complaints from PlayStation fans in China has been the lack of AAA or big First Party IP to get an official localised version. These concerns were quickly put to rest as Sony confirmed that GT Sport, The Last Guardian, Gravity Rush 2, Toukiden 2, King of Fighters 14, Street Fighter V, 3on3 FreeStyle and more would be coming exclusively to PlayStation 4. Sony also confirmed the games listed below-
- Neverwinter Online
- Anima: Gate of Memories
- Heart & Slash
- Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator
- Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization
- Gundam Breaker 3
- Saint Seiya: Soldier Spirits
- Sword Art Online: Lost Song
- Blaster Bannies
- Attack Hero
- Mighty No 9
- Romance of the Three Kingdoms 13
- Hidden Dragon
- Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo
- NBA 2K16
- World of Final Fantasy
- Xuanyuan Sword
- Lego Star Wars
- Lego Marvel Avengers
- Urban Trial FreeStyle
Please note that the games listed above are subject to approval before release.
Sony also confirmed that PlayStation VR would be coming to China at the same time as the worldwide launch. This is a huge contrast to Microsoft, who earlier announced that Xbox One S would be coming to China, but confirmed it wouldn’t be at the same time as the rest of the world and that they did not have a date to announce at all. There is no denying that it can be very difficult to launch a product in China at the same time as the rest of the world, due to regulatory approvals needed. However, when companies like Apple and Sony are launching brand new products there on day 1, it’s quite telling of how Microsoft view the China market. Not important.
PlayStation VR launches October 13th in China and pre orders are taking place tomorrow (July 28th). The base unit will cost ¥2,999 on its own whilst the bundle with camera will come in at ¥3,299. There is also a third bundle that comes with the Headset, Camera and Move controllers which will cost ¥3,699. The peripheral certainly isn’t cheap, but it is a fair price for Chinese consumers and many core fans will look to buy this on day 1. Sony have already said that pre orders are limited and so I fully expect the headset to sell out straight away. It’s hard to say how well the headset will do in China, I certainly expect it to have a good attach rate. However, being the expensive add on peripheral it is, I don’t expect it to have a huge sales impact.
List of games to be approved-
Sony China have once again shown their commitment to the China market and have worked very hard to make ChinaJoy a success in order to show consumers that they are taking China seriously. The event has 53 PS4’s 18 PS Vita’s and a total of 61 games to demo on both systems as well as PS VR. The market for consoles still remains niche in China but this conference has done well with core fans who will no doubt buy more software this holiday, as well as new PS VR hardware. The local Chinese titles and big name AAA foreign titles will also go some way towards attracting a new audience to the console as well.