July 07, 2015

Wheelings & Dealings: Wozlla Lands Hefty Investment to Bring HTML5 Gaming Outside China

With the frenzy of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) now complete, and a laundry list of games to look forward to from “Fallout 4” to “Shenmue 3” and well, well beyond left in its wake, a company like Wozlla that focuses on HTML5 games in the Chinese market is easily overlooked. But this company managed to land $2 million in investment to bring its breed of HTML5 gaming out of the Chinese market and into others beyond.

Wozlla, out of Beijing, recently had something of a hit on its hands with the release of “Summoner of Time: Hero Reborn”, and that led Greenwood Asset Management to put a fairly hefty bet behind the company. This actually isn't the first time Greenwood has put money behind a Chinese tech firm; reports suggest it's done this several times before. But Wozlla likely made itself a bit more attractive of a buy by offering up not only a major game in the Chinese market, but also by making a comic book series around the game's main characters. Given that the game reportedly hit number 28 on the iOS App Store's top downloads list in China—Tencent gave it the nod as Best 2015 HTML5 game—Wozlla has some pretty impressive intellectual property to its credit.

Reports suggest that Wozlla will be taking its newfound capital to drive expansion in North and South America, and to continue creating games. Wozlla's founder and CEO, Zi Bin Cheah, offered up some comment in a statement saying “HTML5 will lead the way in games development in the future. China is at the forefront of HTML5 games development technology.”

A bit optimistic, maybe, but not wholly out of line. HTML5 will be the leader in browser games, certainly, and browser games are likely to gain ground thanks to the comparatively “casual” nature such games often have. When all that's desired is a way to fill a quick five minutes, an HTML5 game would do that job in grand fashion. The versatility HTML5 can offer, meanwhile, is also a major point in its favor; consider how, not too long ago, we heard about platforms that can help develop HTML5 games quickly. Plus, the overall rise of the app store market certainly helps on that front, even if it becomes difficult to differentiate offerings in a crowded market. But by like token, suggesting that HTML5 browser games will ever have the following of, say, the “Fallout” series or the like is a bridge too far for my tastes. Still, the rapid development potential and entertaining gameplay of HTML5 games won't be lost on gamers, and the bet that Greenwood made on this company should pay off long-term.

While HTML5 games may never conquer the gaming market against major triple-A releases, there's nothing saying there won't be a market, and a fairly robust one at that. Wozlla is poised to be a major part of this market to come, and that should provide plenty of new gaming opportunities for the players out there.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino


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