Dawn of Titans heads to China as Zynga partners with NetEase

Zynga announced it is partnering with Chinese game publisher NetEase to publish Dawn of Titans in China on iOS and Android.

The free-to-play mobile game is one of the company’s highest profile titles. Zynga bought NaturalMotion for $527 million in 2014, partly because of the potential of Dawn of Titans and CSR Racing.

Since that time, NaturalMotion worked hard on Dawn of Titans and, after delays, launched the title last fall. I’ve been playing the game ever since, and I’m impressed with the depth of its single-player campaign and the quality of the real-time action. You build a fortress and an economy to support it, and attack rivals.

The battles are asynchronous, where the defender does not control troops in real-time. Rather, the attacker fights in real-time while the defenders simply react based on artificial intelligence controls. The big giants, known as Titans, often swing the battle decisively as the wreak havoc among the tiny soldiers.

Zynga doesn’t disclose individual game revenues. But Dawn of Titans has grossed more than $21 million to date, with more than $10 million of that in the first quarter of 2017, according to measurement firm Sensor Tower. By comparison, CSR Racing 2 has grossed more than $60 million to date, with more than $15 million of that in Q1. The revenues for Dawn of Titans appears to be good, as analyst Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities said in a note before the call that he believes Dawn of Titans will contribute about $25 million in its first year.

The game is expected to be released in China later this year. In a statement, Zynga said, “Zynga is proud to be partnering with NetEase to bring Dawn of Titans to players in China. We look forward to launching the game in China later this year, and are excited to see how local Action Strategy fans make the game their own.”

Western game companies often partner with Chinese publishers to publish Western games in China. Based in part on that strategy, NetEase has grown to become the No. 7 publicly traded game company in the world, according to estimates by market researcher Newzoo. In 2016, NetEase’s revenues were $4.2 billion, up 50 percent from $2.8 billion a year earlier. Much of that revenue came from titles such as Fantasy Westward Journey and Onmyoji.