Inkstone
    Mar
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    2018
    Mar
    23
    2018
    Far Cry China is right on the horizon
    Far Cry China is right on the horizon
    BUSINESS

    Far Cry China is right on the horizon

    Triangle 4
    Photo: Ubisoft
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    In the Far Cry video games, you play a trigger-happy protagonist sprinting through lavishly recreated tropical islands, war-torn African savannahs or frosty Himalayan highlands.

    In the Assassin’s Creed franchise, you carry out stealthy assassinations on the rooftops of painstakingly recreated Renaissance-era Florence, revolutionary Paris and 18th-century Boston.

    But what if you could be unloading rocket launchers in the deserts of Inner Mongolia?

    Or lurking armed to the teeth in the shadows of the Great Wall?

    These games franchises are now partly owned by Chinese conglomerate Tencent, and the Chinese market is swinging wide open.  

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    There is actually an Assassin’s Creed game based in China: but it lacks the open-world exploration that sets the series apart.
    There is actually an Assassin’s Creed game based in China: but it lacks the open-world exploration that sets the series apart. Photo: Ubisoft

    Macro-transactions

    Tencent is Asia's most valuable company by value and runs the world’s largest games business by revenue. The company is investing $456 million for a 5% stake in French games company Ubisoft.

    The deal is part of a $2.5 billion buyout of French media company Vivendi, which had been trying to obtain control of Ubisoft for two and a half years.

    A screenshot from Far Cry 4, set in the fictional Himalayan country of Kyrat.
    A screenshot from Far Cry 4, set in the fictional Himalayan country of Kyrat. Photo: Ubisoft

    Ubisoft controls some of the world’s largest video games franchises, including Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, Just Dance, and Prince of Persia.

    As part of the deal, Ubisoft and Tencent are partnering up to push the games company further into China.

    Ubisoft chief executive Yves Guillemot said the deal will “enable Ubisoft to accelerate its development in China in the coming years and fully leverage a market with great potential.”

    Honor of Kings is the world’s highest-grossing mobile game.
    Honor of Kings is the world’s highest-grossing mobile game. Photo: Reuters

    Loot Boxes

    China has the world’s largest video games market, with estimated sales of $32.5 billion in 2017.

    Tencent is a huge company, with a market value of $580 billion. It owns massively popular Chinese social media channels QQ and WeChat, the latter of which has just hit a billion user accounts worldwide.

    But Tencent is also involved in some of the biggest gaming companies in the world:

    • Riot Games, the maker of League of Legends
    • Fortnite creator Epic Games
    • Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds maker Bluehole
    • Finnish developer Supercell, which makes the hugely popular smartphone games Clash of Clans and Clash Royale
    • Blizzard-Activision, makers of Starcraft

    Closer to home, it publishes Chinese-language Honor of Kings, the world's top grossing mobile game.

    Far Cry China isn’t looking so far away any more.

    Adam White
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    Adam White is a contributor to Inkstone. The Hong Kong­-born-and-raised journalist and editor has written for CNN, Time, Monocle, HK Magazine and the New Statesman.
    Adam White
    arrow rightarrow right
    Adam White is a contributor to Inkstone. The Hong Kong­-born-and-raised journalist and editor has written for CNN, Time, Monocle, HK Magazine and the New Statesman.
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