Market Insight

Sony PlayStation ChinaJoy Press Conference 2018: China Hero Project Plays Key Role

August 02, 2018

Chenyu Cui Chenyu Cui Senior Research Analyst, Games

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Sony PlayStation ChinaJoy Press Conference 2018: China Hero Project Plays Key Role 

Sony held a PlayStation press conference during Asia biggest games conference, ChinaJoy, to present a series of blockbuster games ready for its PS4 console and the Chinese market. Also it gave a major update on the first five titles chosen for the company's China Hero Project initative - which aims to bring Chinese developed games to the PS4 platform - and announced the start of a second phase of the project. The five titles include Lost Soul Aside, Project Boundary and Pervader which surprised gamers due to their impressive trailers. Some of the titles are entering the final stage of development and will be released very soon.

Our take: 

As overseas AAA titles are facing the challenges of censorship and compulsory graphic amendments needed to secure an official launch in the territory, supporting domestic Chinese developers is necessary for Sony to enrich its games portfolio and to consolidate its market position in the console market in China. Hence its China Hero Project initiative. The initiative is also a strategy to engage the Chinese consumer more successfully. In a PC and mobile first games market, the console remains a niche commercial proposition. Sony Interactive Entertainment is also well placed because it can leverage other divisions within the Sony business including Sony Pictures, which it will collaborate with to produce a film based on the new Pervader IP.

The showcase of other upcoming games included Spider-Man, Monster Hunter: World and Monkey King: Hero Is Back but none of these titles were given specific launch dates. It was announced that Spider-Man was due to be released sometime in 2018. In recent months, the major challenge facing games companies has been the inability to secure a publishing authorization number, the release of which was suspended in March following the disbanding and reorganisation of the state media regulator, SAPPRFT. It's possible that a solution to this bottleneck might come during ChinaJoy conference week.

Monster Hunter: World is being promoted heavily on Sony's stand at ChinaJoy but has no release date and it is already 8 months since its release in other markets. Tencent is also promoting the PC version of MH: World on its stand for its PC game distribution platform, WeGame. Again the title has no release date.  It's likely that the two versions will be launched at a similar time and thus face direct competition. Monkey King: Hero Is Back was already presented at the 2017 press conference and at first glance this updated trailer has not really sparked gamers’ passion even though it is based on a popular animated film IP from back in 2015. 

Perfect World announced a battle royale title Farside: An Athletic Game for PlayStation 4 (and PC) during the press conference. Battle royale titles have been dominant in China and the leading publishers are all working to roll out their own titles. Leaning on console to explore this sub-sector enables Perfect World to avoid fierce competition with Tencent and NetEase. Also as battle royale titles are nearly absent on the console platforms in China, it might be an opportunity for Perfect World to gain an initial advantage on the platform

Below are a few pictures taken by our analysts at the event:





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