Cocos Technologies, a China-based gaming engine supplier founded in 2010, has announced a $50 million Series B fundraising round in order to focus on development and expand outside games. CCB Trust, a China Construction Bank affiliate, GGV Capital, and real-time communication solution provider Agora, a long-time Cocos partner, are among the investors. Cocos is well known for its open-source, cross-platform 2D mobile game engine, although many feel that it has fallen behind in the 3D age. Last year, the Beijing-based firm added 3D capabilities to its engine to catch up.
The Chinese firm isn’t seeking to compete with behemoths like Unreal or Unity; instead, it’s focusing on an underappreciated trend: the rebirth of HTML5 web games in China and abroad. It’s also branching out into non-gaming areas like online education and self-driving cars. Because Cocos is free to use, it has raised funds through a variety of methods, including giving help and tutorials to third-party developers, receiving cash from its Chinese parent Chukong, and hosting gaming industry events.
It has a huge contract with Huawei to allow worldwide developers to create games that run on Huawei’s in-house CPUs and HarmonyOS, which is described as an Android alternative. The business also backs Chinese search giant Baidu’s metaverse platform Xirang, though it wouldn’t say how they collaborate. Cocos has been able to survive on these income sources, but the firm is ready to scale up, which is why it sought outside funding. According to Luke Stapley, a marketing director at Coco’s, the company’s workforce has grown from roughly 100 people 18 months ago to 300 this month.
The resurrection of the mini game, since its introduction on WeChat in 2017, HTML5 games, or “micro games,” as the Tencent-owned messenger refers to them, have proven a success in China. Cocos has been one of the most popular tools for creating WeChat games in recent years. Because the majority of these games are casual and monetize through adverts rather than in-app sales, they are free from obtaining the government-issued license, which is becoming increasingly difficult to get. As a result, many Chinese indie game creators who lack the financial means to seek for gaming licenses are turning to HTML5, which is one of the few ways they may generate money.
“In China, the rise of small games is a revolution,” Stapley speculated. The surge drew the attention of hardware manufacturers such as Vivo, who teamed up with Cocos to create its own version of mini games. “After seeing what WeChat was doing, a number of phone companies said, well, we’d want to offer these tiny games in our stores as well.”
According to Stapley, Cocos powers around 60% of China’s micro games. In Europe, where “people just enjoy playing games,” and Southeast Asia, where many users “don’t have very excellent phones,” H5 games are “a lot simpler to deal with than high-end new games,” the genre is gaining traction. According to Cocos, its engine has serviced 1.4 million developers in 203 nations and regions throughout the world. China is the company’s biggest market, followed by the United States and Russia. Its fastest-growing regions include South America and India.
Arenas are being built. Cocos’ simulation technology has found new uses, much as Unity’s use cases have expanded into industries like architecture and aerospace. According to Stapley, Cocos’ engine has been used by several significant online education organizations to construct interactive online curriculum. Due to a non-disclosure agreement, Cocos cannot reveal the identity of the Chinese tech business that is employing its engine to develop sophisticated driving solutions and smart cockpits.