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Report: Sony revives program for courting Chinese game devs

Like Microsoft, Sony wants to court Chinese developers and bring their games to its console.

Reuters reports that Sony is planning to rebirth its program for game developers in China, the China Hero Project. Sony's program incubated games made by Chinese developers, and was previously put on pause following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The China Hero Project was first launched in 2017, followed by a second round in 2019. For its third round of the program, Sony will invest over 1 million yuan (or $140,000) in each project enrolled.

Per Tatsuo Eguchi, president of Sony Interactive Entertainment's Shanghai branch, Sony also views its China Hero Project as a way to sell Chinese players on the PlayStation 5.

"I have always had a dream which is for console gaming to become a regular part of daily entertainment for Chinese people," said Eguchi.

Sony's director of China game production Bao Bo said that the program will fund development teams of varying sizes. Some games enrolled in the program will eventually be published by Sony, he continued, and its scale will "far exceed" the 2017 and 2019 seasons.

Sony isn't the only one with an interest in China

While Sony's had an eye on Chinese game developers for years, this news comes nearly a month after it was reported Microsoft wanted to tap into the Chinese developer market and acquire games from that demographic.

Microsoft's decision was spurred by its failure to acquire MiHoYo's Genshin Impact for the Xbox. Genshin Impact later went to PlayStation, and has remained the sole console (read: not PC and mobile) to house the action-RPG.

But like with Microsoft, the question is if Sony is really taking China's growing game presence in the west into account. Earlier today, Chinese tech company NetEase invested in Polish studio Rebel Wolves.

NetEase has also invested into other non-Chinese developers this year, including Swedish developer Liquid Swords and French developer Quantic Dream.

Meanwhile Tencent, has been making similar moves, such as investing into Ubisoft (via its core shareholder Guillemot Brothers Limited) and FromSoftware. But it's also recently made steps into the hardware space with a cloud gaming handheld made in partnership with Logitech.

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