Microsoft wants to build more partnerships with Chinese developers in a bid to catch up with Sony’s ventures in the industry in China, according to reports.
Industry sources, speaking to Reuters, said Microsoft is approaching both large and independent studios with deals to put their games on Game Pass.
The success Sony saw with Genshin Impact and its developer miHoYo is the reason behind Microsoft’s desire for expansion, sources said.
According to one insider, Microsoft “spoke to miHoYo early in [Genshin Impact]’s development but did not reach a deal”. The company “regretted” missing out on Genshin Impact, which “made Sony a lot of money” according to a second insider, and it is keen to not repeat the same mistake.
For reference, Genshin Impact has reportedly made $3.7bn on mobile (via Sensor Tower), in the two years since its release, falling a little short of the $4bn previously projected back in May.
The free-to-play game is currently available on PlayStation consoles, PC, and mobile, but not on Xbox consoles.
Chinese developers say they are attracted by Microsoft’s deals due to both “big-money offers” and its motivation to put “multi-player, cross-platform games” on Game Pass.
Speaking to Reuters, one executive said Microsoft offered their studio a deal “many times bigger” to develop a sequel, compared to what they received for putting their previous title on Game Pass. Chief executive of Recreate Games Luo Zixiong, the company behind upcoming Xbox exclusive Party Animals, said Microsoft is contacting many different studios in China.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is also looking to expand its number of western studios as the acquisition deal for Activision Blizzard continues to be judged by regulatory bodies across the world. Although it has been approved in Brazil, in the UK a second phase of investigations recently began.