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A massive publisher in China is rapidly climbing the chart of top mobile-gaming companies in the world, and it’s making moves west as it dominates the East.
NetEase is the fifth highest-grossing publisher on iOS and Android, and it is in a position where it could easily surpass those left ahead of it. As China grows into the Earth’s largest territory for mobile gaming, NetEase is among the companies most benefiting. Its Fantasy Westward Journey game, originally released on PC but recently adapted for touchscreen devices, is the top-grossing app on the Chinese app store. With mobile gamers in that country expected to spend $6.5 billion this year, releases like Fantasy Westward Journey are primed to take a huge chunk of that cash.
But NetEase isn’t satisfied with its Chinese success. The company has already started looking west, and it is spooling up its efforts to start publishing games in the United States and similar major markets.
“[Fantasy Westward Journey’s] amazing numbers are very encouraging as we apply the expertise learned from those successes to our local efforts to build great games for Western players, kicking off with the impending release of Speedy Ninja,” NetEase North America general manager David Ting told GamesBeat.
The publisher has already launched Speedy Ninja in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand to test out its market viability, and it claims the early data is positive.
“The reviews currently sit at 4.1 out of 5, and we’re actively collecting feedback to improve the game through updates,” said Ting.
As the game approaches a wide release, the publisher is also expanding its team here in the States.
“A year ago we were just three employees. Right now we’re a little over 30. We plan to have close to 50 total employees in our U.S. office by the end of the year, bringing on talent that specializes in mobile game production and marketing,” said Ting. “On the recruiting front, we’re continuing to bring on talented people to join our team, and we’ve moved into a larger office space located in Brisbane, California.”
And this American team isn’t just stuck trying to make Chinese games work in the West. NetEase has Ting’s developers and marketers in at the prototyping phase to help plant the seeds that will enable new games to quickly make the jump from China to the U.S. or elsewhere.
The good news is that NetEase is generating so much revenue back home that it can afford to invest in what it takes to succeed elsewhere. Fantasy Westward Journey has had a record 1.6 million concurrent players on its servers, which is an enormously high number for a mobile game. That speaks to a level of engagement that even some top mobile games struggle to achieve.
On top of that, NetEase also still has a relationship with Blizzard that has it in charge of publishing World of Warcraft and Hearthstone in China.
The company has already used that success to start producing its own internally developed games for China, and now it hopes to turn that into worldwide success. If it does, it has the potential to out-earn the Supercells and GungHos of the world.
Source:: Publisher NetEase looks West even as it expertly rides China’s rising tide