Report: Microsoft wants in on the next Chinese hit

Inspired by the success of MiHoYo's Genshin Impact on mobile, PC, and PlayStation, Microsoft is looking secure games from Chinese developers for Xbox Game Pass.

Microsoft will reportedly be making a more active effort to acquire games from Chinese developers. Reuters reports that the Xbox maker is building a team to look for Chinese games that could draw attention towards both its console and the Xbox Game Pass service. 

The interest in Chinese games, added Reuters, can be attributed to MiHoYo's Genshin Impact. The action-RPG, which reportedly reached nearly $4 billion in revenue this past September, has been a global hit since it first released in 2020. 

Allegedly, Microsoft attempted to acquire Genshin Impact for the Xbox before release, but a deal wasn't struck. Instead, Sony's PlayStation has been the only console where Genshin is playable, though it's also on mobile and PC.

As Chinese developers like MiHoYo create multiplayer games with cross-platform play, Microsoft is hoping its recent moves to expand Game Pass to personal computers and handheld devices will appeal to those studios. It's also said to be looking to entice independent developers with "big-money offers."

Luo Zixiong, CEO of Shanghai developer Recreate Games, told Reuters that "Xbox contacted many projects in China, and these projects primarily focus on developing console and PC games."

That Microsoft wants a big live-service win from a title such as Genshin isn't terribly surprising. Earlier this month, an SEC filing showed that it paid nearly nearly $5 million for Wildcard's Ark: Survival Evolved and the incoming sequel Ark 2 to both be on Game Pass. In the case of the latter game, Ark 2 will be on Game Pass for three years after its release.

Xbox wants a win from China, but China may have other plans

As Microsoft tries to find a game that can lure in Chinese audiences, Chinese tech giants are looking to make their own footholds in the Western market. 

Throughout 2021 and 2022, NetEase has brought in veteran game developers to found their own studios under its banner, and acquired third-party studios such as Quantic Dream

Another China giant, Tencent, has mainly been opening up subsidiary studios in different parts of the world, including Seattle and Montreal. It also has put significant financial stakes into developers and publishers such as Ubisoft and Elden Ring's FromSoftware

One of the first big games from China is next year's Black Myth: Wukong from Chinese developer Game Science. 

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