While we were at BIG Festival this past week, we had the opportunity to meet all kinds of industry heavyweights and discover the secrets of their success.
Tencent’s lead technology strategist for Latin America Tom Petreca took to the stage to discuss the company’s technology – and how other game makers can utilise it to bring their titles to the next level.
Tencent is a mainstay in our Top 50 list, and for good reason. It’s one of the world’s biggest tech companies, with mobile gaming at the forefront of its gaming interests, and the company’s lead technology strategist for Latin America Tom Petreca took to the stage to discuss how developers can utilise the company’s technology to build immersive and entertaining experiences for players.
One piece of tech, their GME (Game Multimedia Engine) drew particular focus. This software works with audio and voice play to make games more immersive by taking audio design to the next level and offering the capacity for voice communication and spatial interaction in game. For example, in a multiplayer game players who aren’t in a party together can communicate with each other depending on distance within the game.
Petreca defines immersion as “interaction that exists between the virtual game and the physical world” and spatial audio can go a long way towards making a game feel more realistic, and help bring its design to the next level.
Immersion has been a topic of increasing interest within the gaming space. In the latest round of the console wars, for example, Sony put a heightened emphasis on immersion through 3D audio and haptic feedback, which saw the PS5 outsell the Xbox Series X by almost 15 million units, as of March 2023. It isn’t enough to simply have well-designed visuals and sound design in a world where other games are implementing new technology to make the game feel more real than ever before. It may seem simple, but utilising Tencent’s technology can go a long way towards elevating a product, giving it an edge over competing games.
He also discussed two key pieces of infrastructure which have helped make the gameplay more experience for users: Anti-Cheat Expert (ACE), which helps identify cheats and exploits, and WeTest, the company’s quality assurance and performance tester.
Gaming has evolved from a niche interest into the most profitable industry in the entertainment sector, and one that thrives on collaboration. Companies throughout the sector are working on bespoke systems and technologies, and while it may seem tempting to hold exclusive rights to their work, licensing these systems can be beneficial for the entire gaming ecosystem. Cheating, for example, is a problem rife within many online games, giving some players unfair advantages or leading to heightened levels of griefing in-game, while many gamers are likely to look elsewhere rather than play a poor quality or badly-optimised game.
WeTest continuously monitors the game to identify any issues with quality, both before and after launch. As such, Tencent’s technology doesn’t just make games more accessible and immersive, but effectively helps create a smoother experience for the players, helping them to avoid frustration. He specifically noted PUBG Mobile, which saw a 90% reduction in cheating following the implementation of ACE.
Independent developers in particular may struggle in creating their own proprietary systems to address common issues, as this can come at a significant cost. As such, companies such as Tencent which have already created working technologies can licence them to other developers, allowing them to make money from the transaction while letting these studios focus their budgets elsewhere.