When Newzoo released their latest rankings of the Top 25 Companies By Game Revenues, China-based NetEase got the attention of the games industry by flying into the top 10 with 76 percent year-over-year growth and the accomplishment of being the second fastest-growing company on the list.
Before all of this, NetEase was chiefly known as a key player in China’s internet service industry, operating web portals, media channels and email services, drawing comparisons to Yahoo. Since then, the company’s focus on games has quickly become a core aspect of its business. You may know NetEase from their longstanding partnership with Blizzard, operating games like World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Hearthstone and more in China in addition to creating and operating their own successful games like Fantasy Westward Journey.
At E3 this past June, the company made it abundantly clear that they were setting their sights westward, too. They premiered a full slate of new games developed with the intent to reach global audiences. NetEase’s head of games, Riten Huang, showcased Tianxia, Evercraft, Flying Daggers and sci-fi title Spark of Space as well as teasing development of a game for Google’s Daydream VR platform. During the presentation, Huang related his philosophy on localization to how Kung fu movies in the United States are lost in translation and how difficult it is to emulate a style if you are not intimately familiar with it, emphasizing that this is why he looks to locals to develop games for local audiences.
Today, the company announced that they are showing no signs of stopping their growth—stocks are up 46 percent so far this year thanks in part to the positive reception of these games and their direction. We caught up with Huang (video above) to discuss how NetEase is looking to data to inform their global approach and how important VR is to NetEase and the industry at large.