From the outside, watching Rainbow Six Siege go from strength to strength has been an exciting experience, as the game has overcome many of its teething problems to become one of the biggest names in FPS esports.
Just last weekend, Ubisoft managed to bring 4,000 Rainbow Six Siege fans in Japan for the title’s first ever live event in Asia, a solid achievement when you consider that hardly any tactical FPS games have ever made it big in Japan.
But for Francois-Xavier Deniele, Ubisoft’s EMEA esport director, Ubisoft has barely broken a sweat, and they’re not planning to stop at just Japan. “Right now, I’m most excited about our plans for China,” Deniele says. “China, it’s something very important for me, and for Siege. I’m working a lot of the introduction of China at this point, because when it happens it’s going to be a huge step that changes not just for the state of the game, but also for the esports scene, because there’s such a huge market.
“We’re working right now with our partner Tencent to publish the game in China. We’re waiting for approval from the government right now and hoping to get that sorted.”
Deniele mentions that China is a huge audience of competitive gamers, but he wants to be careful to make sure integration is done properly. This time last year, Ubisoft saw backlash and negative review bombing after it announced it intended to bring in some aesthetic changes that cut out the skulls, gambling and pseudo-nudity from the game to make it work in China.
But after some serious push back from the community, these changes were shelved.
“We need to be careful to not destroy everything we are doing with Rainbow Six Siege along the way [to bringing the game to China], so a lot of all of our jobs right now is working on how we will get the Chinese market into the scene, not just for the game, but also into our esports plans.”
“It’s exciting to me because I don’t think there’s any other territory that will completely change the way everything works with the introduction of just one territory.”
Given that Tencent helped launch PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds in China, this partnership with Ubisoft is definitely one to keep an eye on – just expect the Chinese Siege build to look markedly different from the one we know and love right now.