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Tencent’s next level up: fewer big foreign franchise games, more in-house

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In a sea change at China’s Tencent (0700.HK), opens new tab, an easy-to-play game of cute characters tackling obstacle courses has taken precedence over developing a big-budget sophisticated foreign franchise for smartphones.

Since late last year, the world’s largest video games company has, according to sources, redeployed hundreds of people from the team developing “Assassin’s Creed Jade” for mobile – a multi-year project with France’s Ubisoft (UBIP.PA)

They are now working on recently launched “DreamStar” – Tencent’s answer to rival NetEase’s (9999.HK), hit “Eggy Party” and the company’s most high-profile attempt to date at the so-called party game genre which offers simple gameplay, minigames and encourages players to hang out and chat.

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As a result, “Assassin’s Creed Jade” – an action-adventure game set in ancient China that has been under development for mobile for at least four years – will likely be released in 2025 instead of this year, according to three sources familiar with the matter. They were not authorised to speak to media and declined to be identified.

The redeployment of resources highlights the trends forcing a strategic pivot at Tencent. Firstly, developing big-name Western franchises for mobile phones tends to yield thin margins.

At the same time, rivals have had breakout hits with ostensibly niche products that offer new takes on gaming such as as NetEase’s “Eggy Party” and miHoYo’s anime-style fantasy game “Genshin Impact”. Moreover, the games were developed in-house so their profits are all their own.

Tencent had, for years, great success by developing for smartphones international hits like Activision Blizzard’s shooter game “Call of Duty” and the battle royale game “PUBG” by South Korea’s Krafton (259960.KS).

But such franchise games – called IP (intellectual property) games – are costly to make. Royalty fees of 15% to 20% of sales are typical, Apple’s (AAPL.O), opens new tab App Store takes a 30% cut while marketing and user acquisition expenses can cost another 30% to 40%, the sources said.

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After a string of IP game setbacks, Tencent plans to be more selective. “We’re focusing on fewer bigger budget games. Typically, we’re seeking to make the biggest bets around games that either iterate on a successful IP … or games that are iterating around proven gameplay success within a niche and taking those to a more mass market,” Tencent Chief Strategy Officer James Mitchell told an earnings call on Wednesday.

Tencent is now also pushing for royalty fees to fall to under 10% of sales in some negotiations, according to one person with direct knowledge of the matter. “That would have been almost unthinkable just a few years ago. Tencent used to be far more generous,” the person said.

Tencent declined to comment on details of its strategic shift.

SETBACKS AND BAMBOO SHOOTS

On Wednesday, Tencent reported a slight decline in fourth-quarter gaming sales and also flagged that overall gaming revenue this quarter would be soft compared with the same period last year when gaming sales surged as pandemic restrictions were lifted.

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Pony Ma, Tencent’s founder and chief executive, has been blunt that the company’s video game division – which last year generated 180 billion yuan ($25 billion) in sales or around 30%of overall revenue – needs to do better.
Competitors have continued to create new products, “leaving us feeling we have achieved nothing,” he told a stadium of employees in Shenzhen at the company’s annual meeting in January, according to a separate source with direct knowledge of the event.

That month, Tencent also launched its “Spring Bamboo Shoots Project”, aiming to incubate in-house games with novel gameplay and offering budgets of up to 300 million yuan ($42 million) per game. While that is much less than budgets of 1 billion yuan for a major franchise, the initiative signals Tencent is willing to take more risks on non-conventional game design, the sources said.

Some major setbacks have only increased the sense of urgency for change.

Last year, Electronic Arts (EA.O),  discontinued “Apex Legends Mobile”, a game developed by Tencent, with executives at the U.S. firm saying it had fallen short of expected quality.

In December, Tencent axed development of a mobile game based on the “Nier” franchise from Japan’s Square Enix (9684.T), in part because the Chinese firm struggled to find a compelling monetisation model given its expensive development costs and franchise rights, sources have said.

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“Mobile games studios have learned that IP is not the magic bullet for user acquisition it once was,” says Serkan Toto, founder of game industry consultancy Kantan Games.

Tencent has also seen a key in-house game bomb. “Undawn”, a zombie apocalypse shooting game that Hollywood star Will Smith was hired to endorse, flopped spectacularly despite having a budget of close to 1 billion yuan with more than 300 developers, according to two of the sources.

Last month, one year since its launch, “Undawn” brought in revenue of just $287,000, according to research firm Appmagic.

Western companies have also started to shift away from outsourcing mobile game development to Chinese companies like Tencent. Microsoft’s (MSFT.O), Activision Blizzard, for example, has just launched “Call of Duty Warzone Mobile” which will compete directly with Tencent’s “Call of Duty Mobile”.

Adding salt to the wound, Tencent’s top two games saw revenue slide during the week-long Lunar New Year holidays in February. “Honor of Kings” and “PUBG Mobile”, which are nine and seven years old respectively, suffered 7% and 30% drops compared to the holiday period last year, according to one of the sources who was briefed on the matter.

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Source: Reuters

 

The post Tencent’s next level up: fewer big foreign franchise games, more in-house appeared first on European Gaming Industry News.

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Asian Regional Qualifiers Host Announced

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The International Esports Federation (IESF) is delighted to announce the highly-anticipated IESF Asian Esports Championship, set to take place in Chengdu, China, from September 9th to 14th, 2024. This championship will be the final regional qualifier leading to the 16th World Esports Championship Riyadh,  WEC24.

Huati Gaming will bring its experience to this event as a local organizing committee, together with the China National Cyber Games and Sichuan International Expo Group.

The championship will begin with an online competition from June 20th to June 30th, providing a digital stage for the national champions to showcase their skills and secure a spot in the offline event. Athletes and teams from 42 countries in Asia and Oceania will come together to compete in Chengdu. The championship will feature competitions across CS2, CS2 Women, DOTA2, MLBB, and MLBB Women, and an online qualifier for PUBG MOBILE, showcasing the region’s diverse talent and interest in Esports.

“It is a great pleasure to host our first championship in Chengdu, China. The city is known for hosting big events, especially major esports tournaments, and it makes it the ideal location for this year’s Asian Esports Championship. This event will present a unique opportunity for the teams, athletes, and the large fanbase from this region, to experience the excitement of competition that defines our championships.” – stated Boban Totovski, IESF’s General Secretary.

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In addition to top-tier competition, this championship will also provide opportunities for emerging talent to shine on an international stage. The winning teams will earn the privilege of representing their countries at the prestigious WEC24. 

“Hosting the IESF Asian Esports Championship in Chengdu, China, fills us with immense pride as we welcome athletes and countries from across the region. The fans are already anticipating the thrilling competition, where the finest talent of Asian esports will showcase their skills. As we gather to compete, let us harmonize globally, celebrating our differences and uniting in the spirit of friendly competition.” – stated Xu Ming, Chairwoman of China National Cyber Games 

Given Chengdu’s known reputation as a center for Esports excellence and innovation, the IESF Asian Esports Championship promises to be a celebration of Esports, uniting players and fans from this region in a showcase of skill, passion, and sportsmanship. Stay tuned for updates and announcements as the championship approaches.

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Asia-Pacific Sports Betting Market Report 2024-2030, Featuring Dafabet, SBOBET, 1xBet, TAB, CrownBet, UBET, Sports Toto Malaysia, Mansion88, 12BET and W88

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The “Asia-Pacific Sports Betting Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report by Platform, Type, Sports Type (Football, Basketball, Baseball, Horse Racing, Cricket, Hockey, and Others), Region, and Segment Forecasts, 2024-2030” report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com’s offering.

The Asia Pacific sports betting market size is anticipated to reach USD 60.34 billion by 2030. The market is expected to expand at a CAGR of 11.5% from 2024 to 2030. The increasing penetration of the internet and smartphones drives the demand for sports betting in the Asia Pacific. The accessibility and convenience offered by these technologies have led to a surge in online sports betting platforms, attracting a wide range of enthusiasts from diverse demographics. In addition, the rise of digital payment systems has facilitated seamless transactions, encouraging more individuals to participate in sports wagering activities.

The COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted the Asia Pacific sports betting market due to the widespread cancellation or postponement of sporting events across the globe due to lockdowns, travel restrictions, and social distancing measures implemented to restrain the spread of the virus. For instance, the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, initially scheduled for 24 July to 9 August 2020, was postponed due to the pandemic. The postponement of such big sporting events restrained the growth of the Asia Pacific sports betting market during the pandemic.

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Moreover, the growing popularity of alternative betting options such as virtual sports, esports, and fantasy sports has diversified the offerings within the sports betting market, appealing to a broader audience base. As these non-traditional forms of betting gain traction among younger demographics, sports betting operators are investing in expanding their product portfolios to cater to evolving consumer preferences and market trends. The fantasy sports platforms allow users to create virtual teams composed of real-life athletes and compete against each other based on the players’ actual performance in sporting events. These alternative betting options enhance the overall betting experience and offer opportunities for bettors to engage with sports in innovative and interactive ways, thus fueling the growth of the sports betting industry in the Asia Pacific region.

Asia Pacific Sports Betting Market Report Highlights

  • Based on the type of betting, the fixed odd wagering segment accounted for the highest revenue share of 24.7% in 2023 owing to the increasing popularity of fixed odds wagering due to the transparent way of betting based on the odds set by bookmakers, which allows bettors to choose from various options
  • Based on the platform, the online segment dominated the market in 2023 and is also expected to grow at a significant CAGR over the forecast period. This shift towards online sports betting in the Asia Pacific can be attributed to secure payment options and the ability to manage accounts online
  • In terms of sports type, the horse racing segment accounted for the largest revenue share in 2023. The increasing globalization of horse racing events and the integration of international races into local betting markets have contributed to the expansion of sports betting on horse racing in the Asia Pacific
  • China held the largest share of 22.8% in the Asia Pacific region in 2023 and is expected to grow at a significant CAGR during the forecast period. Moreover, the liberalization of gambling regulations in some areas of China, such as Macau and Hainan Island, has created new opportunities for the growth of sports betting

Key Attributes:

Report Attribute Details
No. of Pages 80
Forecast Period 2023 – 2030
Estimated Market Value (USD) in 2023 $28.09 Billion
Forecasted Market Value (USD) by 2030 $60.34 Billion
Compound Annual Growth Rate 11.5%
Regions Covered Asia Pacific

Key Topics Covered:

Chapter 1. Methodology and Scope

Chapter 2. Executive Summary
2.1. Market Outlook
2.2. Segment Outlook
2.3. Competitive Insights

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Chapter 3. Asia Pacific Sports Betting Market Variables, Trends & Scope
3.1. Market Lineage Outlook
3.1.1. Parent market outlook
3.1.2. Related/ancillary market outlook
3.2. Market Dynamics
3.2.1. Market driver analysis
3.2.1.1. Increasing adoption of mobile phones and rising internet penetration
3.2.1.2. Growing number of sporting events and leagues
3.2.2. Market restraint analysis
3.2.2.1. High competition from international as well as domestic companies
3.2.3. Market opportunity analysis
3.2.3.1. Increase in the disposable of middle-income groups
3.3. Asia Pacific Sports Betting Market Analysis Tools

Chapter 4. Asia Pacific Sports Betting Market: Platform Estimates & Trend Analysis
4.1. Platform Market Share, 2023 & 2030
4.2. Segment Dashboard
4.3. Asia Pacific Sports Betting Market by Platform Outlook
4.4. Market Size & Forecasts and Trend Analyses, 2018 to 2030 for the following
4.4.1. Offline
4.4.2. Online

Chapter 5. Asia Pacific Sports Betting Market: Type Estimates & Trend Analysis
5.1. Type Market Share, 2023 & 2030
5.2. Segment Dashboard
5.3. Asia Pacific Sports Betting Market by Type Outlook
5.4. Market Size & Forecasts and Trend Analyses, 2018 to 2030 for the following
5.4.1. Fixed odds wagering
5.4.2. Exchange Betting
5.4.3. Live/In Play Betting
5.4.4. eSports Betting
5.4.5. Others

Chapter 6. Asia Pacific Sports Betting Market: Sports Type Estimates & Trend Analysis
6.1. Sports Type Market Share, 2023 & 2030
6.2. Segment Dashboard
6.3. Asia Pacific Sports Betting Market by Sports Type Outlook
6.4. Market Size & Forecasts and Trend Analyses, 2018 to 2030 for the following
6.4.1. Football
6.4.2. Basketball
6.4.3. Baseball
6.4.4. Horse Racing
6.4.5. Cricket
6.4.6. Hockey
6.4.7. Others

Chapter 7. Asia Pacific Sports Betting Market: Regional Estimates & Trend Analysis
7.1. Regional Market Share Analysis, 2023 & 2030
7.2. Regional Market Dashboard
7.3. Global Regional Market Snapshot
7.4. Market Size, & Forecasts Trend Analysis, 2018 to 2030:
7.4.1. China
7.4.2. India
7.4.3. Japan
7.4.4. South Korea
7.4.5. Australia
7.4.6. Philippines

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Chapter 8. Competitive Landscape
8.1. Recent Developments & Impact Analysis, By Key Market Participants
8.2. Company/Competition Categorization
8.3. Vendor Landscape
8.4. Company Profiles

  • Dafabet
  • SBOBET
  • 1xBet
  • TAB
  • CrownBet
  • UBET
  • Sports Toto Malaysia
  • Mansion88
  • 12BET
  • W88

For more information about this report visit researchandmarkets.com

The post Asia-Pacific Sports Betting Market Report 2024-2030, Featuring Dafabet, SBOBET, 1xBet, TAB, CrownBet, UBET, Sports Toto Malaysia, Mansion88, 12BET and W88 appeared first on European Gaming Industry News.

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Profiles of Animesh Agarwal, Naman Mathur, Payal Dhare and Tirth Mehta

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  1. Animesh Agarwal aka 8Bit Thug, Founder & CEO of 8Bit Creatives and Co-Founder of S8UL

Mr Animesh Agarwal is the Founder, and CEO of 8Bit Creatives, India’s leading Esports consulting and talent management agency.  He is also the founder of S8UL, a hub of gaming content and Esports. S8UL is the parent org of IQOO SOUL, the leading Esports organization in India.

S8UL is the only Indian Esports organization to win at the global Esports Awards and has done so multiple times by securing the prestigious ‘Esports Content Creator of the Year’ recently. Having also won the inaugural ‘Global Impact on Mobile Gaming’ award at the MOBIES earlier this year, the organization has elevated the stature of Indian Esports worldwide. Moreover, team SOUL has also roped in iQOO as its exclusive title sponsor, marking the first time that an Esports organization in the country secured a high-profile title sponsorship with a mobile manufacturer that extends beyond individual tournaments.

Animesh dons several hats as an entrepreneur, an ex-pro gamer, a monster energy Esports athlete, a gaming & luxury lifestyle content creator, and a pioneer in the Indian Gaming Industry. He has a deep understanding of the industry and is dedicated to shaping the Esports and gaming industry in India. He has partnered with other industry front runners like Nodwin Gaming & LOCO to make substantial strides in advancing gaming & Esports in India.

His Company, 8Bit Creatives is equally making remarkable milestones in the business of content creation and brand collaborations around gaming and esports. With some of India’s top gaming talents in their line-up and backed with experience and exposure of collaborating and curating campaigns with 100+ top-notch brands like Netflix, Coca-cola, Reliance Digital, Mx Players, OnePlus, Realme Narzo, Flipkart, Airtel, and many others; 8Bit Creatives boasts of managing popular and renowned gaming content creators and influencers- Mortal, Scout, Mavi, Snax, Thug, Payal, Kaashvi, 8bit Goldy, 8bit Sid to name a few.

 

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  1. Naman Mathur aka Mortal, Co-Founder of S8UL

Naman Mathur, popularly known as Mortal, is a prominent figure in the Indian Esports community and the Co-Founder and CMO of S8UL Esports. Known for his exceptional gaming skills and influential presence, Naman has been instrumental in shaping the landscape of Indian Esports. His achievements both as an Esports athlete and a gaming creator have earned him global recognition, cementing him as the face of Indian Esports.

Naman holds the distinction of being the only Indian Esports athlete nominated four times in the prestigious global Esports Awards. The 26-year-old clinched the runner-up in the ‘Esports Personality of the Year’ category in consecutive years in 2022 and 2023, following his previous nomination for the ‘Streamer of the Year’ category in 2020 and 2021 where he secured the second position on both occasions.

As an Esports athlete, the Mumbai-born gamer has won notable tournaments including the BMPS Season 1 (2022), PUBG: Mobile Club Open, and PUBG Mobile India Series (2019) while also representing India on the international stage. Acknowledged for his exceptional gaming content, Naman was honored with the ‘Best Gaming Influencer’ at the Impact Digital Influencer Awards last year.

With an impressive following of 7 million subscribers on YouTube and over 5.3 million followers on Instagram, Naman’s influence transcends his gaming prowess, as he has played a pivotal role in elevating the status of Indian Esports on a global scale.

 

  1. Payal Dhare aka PayalGaming, India’s leading female gamer who is part of 8Bit Creatives

Payal Dhare, hailing from the small city of Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh, defied societal stereotypes from an early age and embarked on a journey as a gamer. It all began when her cousin brothers introduced her to the world of video games.

While Payal’s father provided unwavering support, her mother initially shared the concerns for her future. However, Payal’s determination and passion gradually changed her mother’s perspective. As a result, her mother now stands as a proud supporter of Payal’s achievements.

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Payal commenced her career as a hardcore content creator. Although her first video on YouTube did not feature gameplay, it served as a significant starting point for her. Unlike aspiring lifestyle influencers, Payal’s primary focus was to connect with her audience through gaming. She aimed to have fun while playing games and involve more people in the process. Payal believed that competitiveness was not always necessary when engaging in video games.

By breaking stereotypes and pursuing her passion, Payal Dhare has become an inspiration for aspiring gamers, content creators, and individuals seeking to challenge societal norms. With over 3.1 million followers on Instagram and 3.69 million subscribers on YouTube, her journey exemplifies the importance of following one’s dreams, even in the face of adversity.

 

  1. Tirth Mehta, Bronze medal winner in Hearthstone at Asian Games 2018

Tirth Mehta, a 28-year-old lad from the sleepy town of Bhuj in Gujarat’s Kutch district won the bronze medal in Hearthstone — a popular online digital collectible card game — at the Esports demonstration event at the 2018 Asian Games. Hearthstone, developed and published by American video game company, Blizzard Entertainment, has garnered huge interest among online gamers from across Asia, including Japan, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan, besides India. The game is a combination of chess and poker, requiring players to have core skills in maths and probability.

The post Profiles of Animesh Agarwal, Naman Mathur, Payal Dhare and Tirth Mehta appeared first on European Gaming Industry News.

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