7 months ago, back in March, in a brief interview with PC Gamer, Doug Lombardi stated that since China represents the biggest Dota playerbase on the planet, a distribution and release plan there would be crucial if Dota 2 were to be successful. But due to the intricacies of Chinese economic legislation (especially with regards to gaming itself), Valve can’t just step in there by themselves and launch the game through Steam, entirely on their own. They need a Chinese business partner in order to bring Dota 2 there – as Lombardi said: “you need a Chinese partner to be in China, period.”. And Valve has far too much riding on Dota 2 for them to possibly risk neglecting Dota’s Chinese game population.
But according to an official announcement from China-based online game studio Perfect World, Valve appears to have found a solution to this little problem. Let’s check it out:
Perfect World Co., Ltd. (NASDAQ: PWRD) (“Perfect World”), a leading online game developer and operator based in China, and Valve, a leading entertainment software and technology company based in the United States, today announced an agreement granting Perfect World exclusive rights to operate Dota 2 in mainland China.
In development at Valve, with design lead “IceFrog,” Dota 2 promises to expand on the unique mix of action, RTS, and RPG gameplay that has made Dota one of the most popular online games in the world and a leading title at professional e-sport competitions.
“Valve is one of the best developers of online games in the world. We are very excited to partner with Valve in bringing Dota 2 to Chinese gamers,” commented Mr. Robert Hong Xiao, Co-CEO of Perfect World. “Dota 2, a refined work by the developers at Valve, has received great attention from players worldwide. With our years of expertise in delivering quality games in China, we are confident that adding this action strategy game to our diverse portfolio of games will bring additional world-class entertainment and premier gaming experiences to our players in China.”
“We knew when we started building Dota 2 that Dota was already loved by millions of gamers in China. Valve gave very careful consideration to which potential partner, among multiple candidates, would best serve the Chinese Dota community,” said Gabe Newell, President and co-founder of Valve. “In the end, Perfect World was the clear choice to best bring the full Dota 2 experience to customers in China. IceFrog, and the entire team at Valve, are looking forward to moving Dota 2 forward in China with the rest of the world.”
That’s the full press release, right there. Now, as you could tell from the beginning of this article, I’m far from the world’s leading Dota connoisseur, but I think we can all tell this is a really great move for Valve, and a solid decision overall. Perfect World certainly seems to be the right company for the job, and I am definitely looking forward to seeing what they have in store for Dota 2’s release in China. There’s no telling when that might occur, but since the game itself is still just a bit far off (I don’t think it’ll drop before early 2013), a simultaneous worldwide release might not be too unreasonable.
The only question remaining is: when will the Dota 2 beta drop in China, and will it coincide with the beta itself entering open status in all other regions? It’s hard to say at this point, but as I said above, I’m just hoping we get those tutorials relatively soon!