Recently launched Internet gaming company CDC Games International, a subsidiary of CDC Corp. and Beijing-based CDC Games, will base operations for its new United States business unit in Atlanta.
CDC Games, which has accumulated more than 100 million online video game users in China, recently announced that it will establish CDC Games USA to position itself for expansion in the U.S. and the Americas.
Atlanta, with its proximity to quality universities, was an ideal place to locate CDC Games USA, which will need a lot of interns for its projects, according to Ron Williams, vice president of systems engineering for CDC Software Inc., which is also owned by CDC Corp.
“Atlanta offers the best mix of low cost of living and pretty large talent base,” Mr. Williams to GlobalAtlanta, citing Savannah College of Art and Design, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University and the University of Georgia as sources to be tapped by CDC Games USA.
Mr. Williams, who will assume the position of general manager of CDC Games USA when the company launches, said that the company would have chosen other cities if it was in the business of developing games, but that Atlanta had all the right components for publishing and exporting games.
In addition to what he called “great data resources” in the area, he said Atlanta is a good market for testing games. Also, the company is considering using interns from SCAD’s Atlanta campus to help “localize” Web sites when exporting games to different markets, he said.
Aside from colleges, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport was another factor CDC Games considered when deciding where to locate its office, Mr. Williams said.
With the company looking to expand into the Americas, a few countries in Africa, Europe and the Middle East, the airport will provide a convenient transportation option.
It also didn’t hurt that Mr. Williams lives in Suwanee and that CDC Software already has office space in Atlanta.
In 2004, CDC Software acquired Ross Systems Inc., a software solutions provider that had been in Atlanta for about 20 years, according to Loretta Gasper, a spokesperson for CDC Software.
“When CDC Games was looking to open its U.S. office it made sense to utilize some of the infrastructure and resources they already had here in Atlanta,” Ms. Gasper said.
Mr. Williams said it remains to be seen whether CDC Games will use CDC software’s office space, which he described as scarce, but he was positive about the company’s future in North America.
Although he said that the CDC Games’ success in China won’t translate to the U.S. without some adaptation, he said that targeting richer gamers in markets like the U.S. and Japan could help the company make more money per user, somewhat compensating for the disparity in users between the U.S. and China.
The “free to play, pay for merchandise” method is the future of gaming as Mr. Williams sees it. While there is no charge to create an account or play games, users can make “micro-transactions,” purchasing small upgrades to enhance their gaming experience. Eventually, the company hopes to launch games that become popular enough to sell real, not virtual, merchandise.
The company plans to launch gaming portals in the U.S. by October. CDC Corp. has several IT, web development and business services companies in Hong Kong, Australia, Korea, and the U.S., according to the company’s Web site.
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