×

Pokemon, Sony Seek Games Expansion in Greater China in 2018

Augmented reality game, “Pokemon Go” may be able to launch in China, some 18 months after the craze swept the rest of the world. This year will also see Sony’s games unit ForwardWorks distributing smart phone games in the parts of Greater China — Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau – beyond the reach of mainland Chinese regulators.

Chinese games publisher, NetEase was recently part of a $200 million investment round conducted by “Pokemon Go”’s U.S.-based operator, Niantic. NetEase is now poised to be the local partner that any imported game is required to have before release in China.

“We absolutely intend to bring our existing games into China,” Niantic Labs CEO John Hanke said in an interview with the Financial Times. “Beyond that, there are opportunities to build games in China, both for China and for the world.

Hanke provided no timetable for release of the game, nor any details of how the game will surmount other regulatory hurdles in China. Some of its edgier content may upset censors who frown on gore and superstition. China may also invoke matters of national security in locations that are both popular and have national symbolism.

NetEase did not respond to inquiries from Variety about completion of the regulatory process, or the building of infrastructure to support the game.

Its pact with the U.S. firm appears to span all of Niantic’s current content, including “Ingress” and “Harry Potter” spinoff “Wizards Unite.” Those could ultimately prove bigger in China, where “Pokemon Go” has been widely played in unauthorized versions.

Sony is manufacturer of PlayStation consoles and creates and publishes games to play on the devices. But with the near ubiquity of smart phones and the only recent opening of the China market to games consoles, Sony is increasingly looking at other platforms.

ForwardWorks has tied up with Sony group company So-Net Entertainment Taiwan to begin distributing non-console games in the region. Japan’s Nikkei newspaper reports that “Between The Sky and the Sea” (aka “Sora to Umi no Aida”) is likely to be the first. The game has been a hit since release in Japan last fall, thanks to video, manga and comic book tie-ins. An animated TV series is set to launch in 2018.

More Digital

  • Michael Uslan's U2K Becomes Asia-Hollywood Formats

    Michael Uslan's U2K Becomes Asia-Hollywood Formats Pipeline (EXCLUSIVE)

    Michael and David Uslan, the father and son producing team with credits that include “The Dark Knight” and “Sabrina: Secrets of a Teenage Witch” have struck a cluster of deals that makes them a two-way conduit for TV formats between Hollywood and Asia. U2K, a company that includes the Uslans and Jon Karas (“Believe in [...]

  • Dish Testing Flixpert Content Recommendation Service

    Dish Tests Movie Recommendations App Flixpert (EXCLUSIVE)

    Dish and its corporate sibling EchoStar have quietly been testing a movie recommendations platform called Flixpert, Variety has learned. Flixpert promises to help people find movies to watch through recommendations from friends and trusted contacts; Dish has been testing mobile apps for the service with a few hundred users. Online footprints suggest that Flixpert has [...]

  • Craig Hunegs WB

    Craig Hunegs to Exit Warner Bros. TV Group and Digital Networks (EXCLUSIVE)

    After nearly 25 years in the Warner Bros. family, Craig Hunegs is exiting his post as head of business for Warner Bros. TV Group and president of the studio’s digital networks wing. Hunegs said he has been discussing his exit with Warner Bros. chairman-CEO Kevin Tsujihara for the past several months. At a time of [...]

  • Google Placeholder

    Google Accelerates Google+ Shutdown Following New Privacy Mishap

    Google will shutter its struggling social network Google+ sooner than previously announced: The company said Monday that Google+ will shut down in April of 2019. It also disclosed a new security vulnerability that briefly exposed personal data of some 52.5 million Google+ users. The bug, which was introduced to Google+ in November, allowed developers to [...]

  • Eddie Lazarus Sonos

    Sonos Hires Tribune General Counsel Eddie Lazarus as Chief Legal Officer

    Smart speaker maker Sonos has hired former Tribune exec Eddie Lazarus as its new chief legal officer. Lazarus will be in charge of all legal, regulatory, compliance and SEC reporting issues, among other things. Prior to joining Sonos, Lazarus worked as general counsel and chief strategy officer for Tribune Media. Before that, he was chief of [...]

  • Rhapsody, Sony Music to Launch Spotify

    Rhapsody, Sony Music to Launch Spotify Competitor in Japan

    Rhapsody and Sony Music Entertainment today announced a partnership to launch what they describe as the first on-demand, high-resolution streaming music service in Japan. Rhapsody International is providing its “Powered by Napster” platform including a set of systems, tools and APIs to allow SMEJ to quickly launch and bring its on-demand service to market. The service, [...]

  • Vidcon Sarah Tortoreti

    VidCon Has a New Marketing Chief: Nickelodeon's Sarah Tortoreti

    VidCon tapped Sarah Tortoreti as VP of marketing to head up the digital-creator and video confab’s promotional strategies worldwide. Tortoreti joins VidCon from Viacom’s Nickelodeon, where she was director of marketing and brand strategy since April 2016. In early 2018 Viacom acquired VidCon, founded by veteran YouTube creators Hank Green and John Green. In the newly [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content