Publishing games in China

A couple weeks ago I had dinner with a large group of IT/engineers in eastern Shanghai and was fortunate to sit next to an online gaming developer who had previously worked at ATI.

We chatted about a number of topics but continued to circle around the gaming industry in China.  Some quick numbers, last year the gaming industry on the mainland generated $9.7 billion in revenue.  This number continues to grow as roughly $5.1 billion was spent in the first half of 2013 in the online game market.  Thus as mentioned in Chapter 14, there is a lot of potential for new projects and even businesses in this segment.

What kind of Western games are particularly popular in China?  While online RPGs such as World of Warcraft are still popular on the mainland others such as League of Legends and DOTA (which are in a new genre called MOBAs) are also quite popular.  Some of my Chinese friends also play casual games based on Farmville-esque styles from Team Lava (such as Fashion Story and Castle Story).

One notable up-and-coming (re)release is Guild Wars 2.  It was originally published last fall in North America and Europe but its official Chinese release is not expected until later this year.  This is due to a couple of issues including legal issues that require a joint-venture be formed in the process and a screening of content.  So for example, in 2010 when Blizzard wanted to (re)publish WoW in China, it was required to team up with a local company to co-publish it and Blizzard also had to censor/revise its content to meet guidelines (e.g., removal of skeletons/zombies).  See this older news account for more info.

See also: A Closer Look at 4 Online Gaming Companies in China from The Motley Fool and China: The gaming superpower continues to march West from Games Industry International

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