NetEase’s mobile MMORPG Justice Online tops the Chinese iOS App Store charts.
According to news outlets such as Yicai Global, the title has already grossed around $3.6 million on its first day, with at least 40 million players pre-registering before its release. The success of this game is absolutely necessary, especially since development budget estimates put it at at least $139 million. The title is based on a Chinese martial arts fantasy, or Wuxi, and will be released worldwide in late 2023.
According to news reports, NetEase has ambitions to run this MMO for at least 10 years, while other news sources such as Technode believe the title is the same as Genshin Impact (or Honkai: Star Rail) MiHoYo and Tencent’s leading MOBA. From Honor of Kings.
Romance of three tech giants
Justice Online will also reportedly utilize NetEase-researched AI technology to generate dialogue for individual NPCs, allowing them to respond to player input without pre-programmed responses. It’s not yet clear how effective this implementation will be, or whether it will enhance the final product, but the AI evangelist calls this step one of the first major implementations of his technique for generating NPC interactions. I admire it as one.
MiHoYo herself has also seen Genshin Impact face its own unique design challenger. Honkai: Star Rail appears to be the biggest revenue generator to replace other free-to-play titles. Tencent’s overseas launch in Brazil, “Honor of Kings,” was a mixed success, but some analysts said it fell short in terms of downloads and revenue, despite a huge number of signups. It didn’t make it into the top 10 in the market.
Not surprisingly, Tencent and NetEase competed for a position on the Top 50 Game Makers list, with NetEase taking the top spot for 2022. It remains to be seen where they place on this list, but if there’s any indication of the big moves they’re making this year, it’s definitely going to be nailed.