Missed the GamesBeat Summit excitement? Don't worry! Tune in now to catch all of the live and virtual sessions here.
NetEase is responsible for operating publisher Blizzard’s massive games like World of Warcraft and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft in China, and now the company has plans to start working in the United States market.
The company is setting up a division in the U.S. led by David Ting, who will act as general manager of NetEase North America. The publisher already employs more than 3,600 people in China, and this new Western initiative will combine that manpower with Ting’s expertise to build a lineup of mobile games specifically for Western audiences. The U.S. is one of the top spending markets for mobile gaming — spending isn’t as big in Android-heavy China — and a primary driver behind the $25 billion in revenues that smartphone and tablet games generated in 2014.
The company already has several new releases in the works that it plans to launch on iOS and Android in American and European markets this year. That includes its first mobile game, Speedy Ninja, which is an endless runner.
“We’re a very product-focused company,” Ting told GamesBeat. “It’s very exciting for us to release our first mobile game. The first game is Speedy Ninja, and it has a lot of interesting mechanics and specialized art.”
While Speedy Ninja is another release in a familiar genre, NetEase has worked with developer Pandastudio to expand on a unique calligraphy-style look for the app. Ting believes this will help it stand out in the crowded market.
For Ting, figuring out how to make NetEase and its games work in the West is just his latest challenge in the gaming industry. He has had a number leadership roles at huge companies in this space prior to joining the Chinese publisher. He started at IGN, where he guided the company’s e-sports initiative into a huge business. He then oversaw online publishing at Blizzard before moving on to act as chief technology officer at Ouya, the company that launched an Android-based microconsole of the same name.
NetEase expects that experience will help Ting build a viable Western business.
“Traditionally, our strength is in client-based desktop games,” said Ting. “But about two and a half years ago we launched two initiatives, and one of those was going mobile. Quite a few of [our apps] were very successful. Quite a few were on the top-grossing charts in China. The other initiative is globalization.”
NetEase realized that in order to remain relevant over the long term, it would need to have a global presence. Ting’s job is to help the company understand what it takes to make a business work in the West, and to make sure the games are better adapted for audiences in the Americas and Europe.
Ting has already implemented his methods to accomplish those goals. One of his big ideas is communication and transparency with those in charge back in China.
“That’s a huge challenge from a Chinese-cultural perspective,” he said. “It took a while to communicate with complete faith so that we are actually the most effective and focus on the right priorities.”
GamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. Discover our Briefings.