Alibaba, China Mobile, Oppo, other tech firms back new US$1 billion joint venture with US video game engine provider Unity
- Joint venture Unity China will initially build customised local versions of the US software firm’s core products for domestic video game developers
- Unity’s cross-platform game engine was used to develop top-grossing titles such as miHoYo’s Genshin Impact and Tencent Holdings’ Honour of Kings
“Unity believes that China’s gaming industry will still have broad growth in the future, and gaming technology will undoubtedly continue to lead the development of real-time 3D engines, which will also promote the development of other industries,” Zhang Junbo, Unity China’s president and chief executive, told the South China Morning Post.
“In China, many game developers and manufacturers are important customers and platform partners, and we will work with them to build efficient and easy-to-use [real-time 3D] engines.”
Unity has majority ownership and control of the joint venture, which will operate solely within the Greater China region and be overseen by a board of directors composed of Unity executives and major investors.
The backing received by Unity China from a number of Big Tech companies reflects the increased interest by these entities in helping to expand the country’s video gaming industry.
“For the joint venture’s big investors, such as Alibaba, Douyin and China Mobile, they’ve tried to compete in the video gaming industry, but have failed,” Kandong analyst Zhang said. “[Unity China] could serve as a bridge for them to join hands with small and medium-sized local game companies to challenge Tencent.”
At the end of 2020, China’s top 20 video game developers by revenue – including Tencent – had adopted Unity’s game engine and other software tools, according to the company’s data.
In July, Unity’s Zhang said the company is also eyeing the growing applications of the metaverse in China.
“We have also received a lot of demand from non-gaming fields,” the Unity China chief executive said on Wednesday. “As the leading real-time 3D engine, Unity has begun to actively expand these application scenarios.” He said these fields include manufacturing, e-commerce, smart city development and tourism.