Interpret Weekly: Asia Entertainment 11/08/2021

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer /
Universal Pictures
Bona Film Group Warner Bros. /
Legendary East

No Time to Die dropped by 59% on its second weekend at the Chinese box office, adding $11.4 million. Patriotic Chinese title The Battle at Lake Changjin took a further $8.7 million in second place, pushing its gross to $874 million since its Sept. 30, 2021 release.

Marvel movie Eternals enjoyed the biggest opening weekend of any film this year in South Korea. It came as some Korean cinemas moved towards near to normal operation. Eternals earned $10.2 million between Friday and Sunday, and $14.3 million during its five opening days.

The company will now be organized across six units: TikTok, its Chinese counterpart Douyin, collaboration platform Lark, B2B AI services arm BytePlus, edtech brand Dali Education and, finally, its gaming unit. The new business unit will be built around Nuverse, its gaming arm that includes acquired businesses Moonton and C4games, as well as publishing arm Pixmain. The company’s gaming platform Danjuan Games – which launched in October last year in China – has been rebranded under the name Momoyu, and is not part of the newly established gaming pillar, but will be a smaller, independent unit.

The official site for Fortnite China announced the end of the game’s operation on November 15. Fortnite China originally launched in April 2018 during Season 5, and there were changes made in the localized version – including no microtransactions – due to Chinese regulations regarding the practice, as well as rules about gambling. Many of the other adjustments were made to make Fortnite seem less violent, to comply with bureaucratic expectations. The shutdown comes as Beijing intensifies its crackdown on the video game sector, but also note Fortnite is not a popular game in the market where the battle royale/shooter genre is dominated by PUBG, Peacekeeper Elite, CrossFire, Overwatch, etc.

EDG, which represented China’s League of Legends Pro League, became only the third esports team from the country to win the world championship, beating South Korea’s DWG Kia with 3-2. The victory has sparked plenty of discussion on China’s social media. A related topic on Chinese microblogging platform Weibo has been viewed 2 billion times as of Monday morning.

South Korea’s Kosdaq-listed game publisher Com2us Corp. has invested in Mythical Games, a U.S.-based NFT games startup behind Blankos Block Party, an open-world multiplayer game providing non-fungible token (NFT) features to gamers. It also serves self-made platforms Mythical Economic Engine and Mythical Marketplace for users to create and trade their own NFTs.

Nintendo said it expected stronger software sales for the year to March 2022, on the back of healthy sales in the first half and ahead of releases including three titles in the popular Pokémon franchise. But it lowered its annual sales target for its Switch console from 25.5 million to 24 million as a worldwide chip shortage continues to affect many industries, including video games.

Nintendo doubled-down on its commitment to its paid Switch Online subscription service in its latest corporate strategy briefing with investors. Despite complaints over the quality and price of its newly added Expansion Pack tier, the company said it will continue “striving to provide services that satisfy consumers.” The company also revealed that the paid subscription service, which allows online play and cloud saves, now has 32 million users, up six million from the same time last year. That’s roughly equal to a third the number of Switches Nintendo has sold.

For the six months ended September 30, the company generated $1.48 billion in sales, a slight dip on the $1.5 billion achieved during the same period last year. Operating income was down 7.9% to $254.7 million, while ordinary income actually rose 31% to $276.6 million. The drop be attributed to the 40% drop in net sales for HD games – the publisher’s key releases for the first half of the year included Outriders, Nier Replicant, NEO: The World Ends with You and Life Is Strange: True Colors, but these failed to deliver the sales seen when Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Marvel’s Avengers launched in H1 2020.

OTT Entertainment, the local agent of mainland Chinese streaming giant iQiyi, says it will not apply to renew its contract to operate in Taiwan, citing Taiwanese government opposition. Streamers such as iQiyi and Tencent’s WeTV had previously operated in Taiwan through partnerships with local agents. However, this kind of collaboration was deemed illegal on the grounds that internet broadcasting is not open to mainland investment under Taiwan’s “Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area.” Taiwan’s move to block mainland media operations was reportedly motivated by security concerns.

Outrun by Running Man, a spinoff of popular South Korean television show Running Man, will be released later this year as Disney+’s first Korean-language original, following the launch of the streaming platform on November 12.

A single visitor was tested positive for coronavirus, triggering a sudden lockdown of Shanghai Disneyland that left more than 30,000 visitors barred from exiting the park on Sunday until they could show a negative test result. The site reopened on Wednesday after two days of closures.

Online, there’s little content focused on the disconcerting sight of healthcare workers in full-body white PPE marching into the park, instead, the resort’s resplendent Halloween fireworks display during the subsequent mass testing process has become the center of attention, spun by a government narrative into a potent symbol of hope, China’s strong collective response to the pandemic, and the triumphant efficiency of Shanghai’s governance.