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Perfect World's got game in US

By Lia Zhu in San Francisco | China Daily USA | Updated: 2015-08-21 10:54

Perfect World Co Ltd, one of China's major online game developers and publishers, has been seeking partnership with gaming studios and technical teams in the United States to boost its products' competitiveness in the US and even the global market, as part of its "global R&D, global publishing and global partnership" strategy.

Since its founding in 2008, Perfect World Entertainment Inc (PWE), a US subsidiary of Perfect World Co., Ltd., has set its strategy of investing in or acquiring promising studios to strengthen its foothold in the US and develop the European market.

In 2011, the Silicon Valley-based PWE acquired Cryptic Studios Inc., an online game developer in San Francisco, and then launched Neverwinter, a free-to-play action MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) that features fast-paced combat and epic dungeons, where players explore the city of Neverwinter and its surrounding countryside, while learning the city's history and battling its many enemies.

The game has become the top free-to-play title on Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft as of March 2015 with over 1.6 million players.

Neverwinter on Xbox One brings a role-playing experience with a living social world, allowing players to experience Dungeons & Dragons adventures with their friends. It also utilizes console features, including friends-list integration and optimized controls, to easily transit the MMORPG experience from PC to console.

"As our first entry into the console market, we're absolutely ecstatic to see the success of Neverwinter on Xbox One," said Bryan Huang, senior vice - president in charge of Perfect World's US and European subsidiaries.

"Our goal with our online games is to create worlds that players want to play in, and support them through fine tuning their gaming experience and introducing fresh content with expansion releases."

In 2010, PWE acquired Runic Games Inc., another US game studio, with an investment of approximately $8.4 million. Its most famous role-play game (RPG) Torchlight has won numerous awards, like the Best Debut Game Award at the 2010 Game Developers Choice Awards, and has sold over 3 million copies worldwide so far.

The fantasy-themed game is set in the fictional town of Torchlight and the expansive caverns and dungeons nearby, which adventurers explore to collect valuable loot and battle hordes of monsters.

Torchlight Mobile, jointly developed by Runic Games and Perfect World Beijing, won the best mobile RPG at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2015, an annual trade show for the video game industry and known as E3, Los Angeles in June 2015. It's expected to be released for iOS and Android mobile devices in late 2015.

PWE offers most of all their games free-to-play, operating the micro transaction business model. All players can download, access and play these games for free and can later purchase non-essential game enhancements like character customization or convenience items.

Since PWE launched its first game, Perfect World International (PWI), the localized version of Perfect World II for the international audience, in September 2008, the company has achieved rapid growth with compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 20 percent increase in revenue from 2009 to 2014.

Besides PWI and Neverwinter, its other popular titles include Champions Online, Forsaken World, and Star Trek Online.

PWE's strategy for the US market is to secure the PC and console market first by offering localized products and then expand to other platforms.

The US has always been the most important overseas market to Perfect World, so more support will be given to the R&D teams in the US, including the Runic Games and Cryptic Studios, according to Huang.

"The US teams have made remarkable achievement in AAA titles for PC and console, so developing PC games will be the priority of PWE as it will help secure the traditional markets in the US and Europe and capture the emerging market in China as well," he said.

However, PWE also faces the same challenges as any other cultural creative company in the world: differences in cultures and values.

The US is a well-established market for game industry and it is not easy to cater to the ever-changing and diversified tastes of the players, so how to provide quality products which not only meets multi-cultural demands but also keeps pace with the industry trends poses a long-term challenge for all the Chinese game companies, Huang said.

Established in 2004 and headquartered in Beijing, Perfect World primarily develops online games based on proprietary game engines and game development platforms. In 2014, the company posted a total revenue of over $619 million and its exports have been leading its Chinese counterparts for many consecutive years.

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