The internet technology company NetEase has found great success in China developing PC and mobile games, and operating some of the world’s most popular online games in partnership with Blizzard. It also recently signed a five-year deal with Microsoft, making it the exclusive distributor of a special Chinese edition of Minecraft. With that success, the company is looking to expand both globally and technologically to further grow its audience, which is one of the reasons it became one of the first developers to sign on with Google and its recently revealed Daydream VR platform.
Its debut VR game is called Twilight Pioneers—an action fantasy role-playing game that is expected to release in November, coinciding with the launch of Daydream. Daydream itself is a mobile Android-based VR platform developed by Google to support both a headset viewer and a motion controller. It will be included in the next version of Android (currently called Android N), with supporting devices ready to launch later this year.
Simon Zhu, senior director for NetEase Games, talks to [a]listdaily about being one of Daydream’s first developers, working with VR, and using the technology to expand NetEase’s presence across global markets.
Can you give us an idea of what Twilight Pioneers will be about?
It is a very big universe in the far future; a fantasy world where heroes team up to prevent an evil force’s plan to destroy the world.
What convinced NetEase to begin VR development and become one of the first Daydream partners?
A few years ago, we had some experiences with an early VR device and immediately knew that it would be the future for many things, especially entertainment and gaming. We are very pleased to be one of the first few developers to get to work on Daydream platform.
In what ways will VR help NetEase expand its global presence?
Players always look for the best content on the best platforms and NetEase is committed to providing top quality content for the platforms that players will love. We make games for passionate gamers, that why we do it. And in return, we hope that players around the world will see us as a preferred brand.
NetEase has already had great success in China. Do you think a mobile VR game like Twilight Pioneers has the potential to appeal to both Eastern and Western markets?
Yes, we are working to carefully craft the story and art to delight players worldwide.
How crucial do you think Daydream is to accelerating adoption of VR?
Considering Google’s resources and its technology, Daydream could be the biggest driving force in VR. As a developer, we have confidence in the overall market trend of both VR and Daydream as a key platform.
With Daydream months away from launching, what is the most important thing to keep in mind while developing Twilight Pioneers?
Always keep in mind that this is VR, a new platform with a new user interaction, and we need to think through every detail to make sure that it is a VR-native experience and not something copied from a 2D screen mobile game.