Benjamin Li
Nov 28, 2013

Former Sony director James Hong joins as CEO

HONG KONG - Adopting to tech transformation in the fast-moving mobile industry, James Hong (項明生) has joined Hong Kong-based online game company Gameone as CEO.

Hong (center) receives a warm welcome
Hong (center) receives a warm welcome

Hong started his new job immediately after he left his director job at Sony Computer Entertainment Hong Kong (SCEH) on 14 November. He had spent 15 years working his way up the ladder at SCEH.

Campaign Asia-Pacific met up with Hong yesterday at the Gameone office in North Point. Gameone is Hong Kong’s number one online game company, offering a wide range of martial-arts and gangster games. It has development divisions in Shenzhen and Taiwan as well as subsidiary offices in Singapore and Malaysia.

Hong said that both home video game consoles, such as Sony's Playstations, and PC-based games face a downward trend given the phenomenal popularity of mobile social games.

“Mobiles have completely altered the whole consumer-electronic sector," he said, adding digital cameras to the list of products whose sales have suffered due to the rise of smartphones. “As the saying goes, if you can’t beat them, join them,” he added with a hint of a sigh.

“I started to ask myself, with all these popular mobile games like Candy Crush [designed in the UK], Angry Birds [Norway], Castle & Dragon [Japan]....We have been exporting Hong Kong’s movies and music overseas and gaining international awards at Cannes and in US, so why can’t we come up with locally created mobile games, especially as Hong Kong has its advantages of being the hybrid of Eastern and Western cultures?”

Gameone licenses games developed elsewhere, but has earmarked US$130,000 (HK$1 million) for a mobile game competition in Hong Kong in Q1 2014, which will aim to inspire creativity among young people and mobile game fans.

Hong reflected that this is not his first technology-driven career change. “I jumped ship from Fujifilm to SCEH when photo film faced a downward trend from digital cameras," he said. "Now I am just adapting to mobile, which will be the irreversible technological trend in the next 10 years.”

Apart from his busy job in gaming industry, Hong is also a prolific travel columnist in local newspapers and magazines, and adventure traveller who has just travelled to Ethiopia and Antarctica this year, and is now preparing his next trip to the North Pole.

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