China, a new market for indie games


A new battleground for Chinese technology giants: games for mobile devices. The numbers speak for themselves: Monument Valley 2, a sequel to the popular puzzle game developed by the British ‘Ustwo’, got half of the downloads from China, after Tencent bought the rights; Minecraft, one of the most successful titles, registered 60 million users after its launch in the country by NetEase.

That’s why indie games, typically developed by small studios not affiliated with large distribution brands, are ready to trigger a bidding war in China. Furthermore, the large industry is almost obliged to enter this market, given that the Government controls the flow of securities, and requires the presence of a recognized publisher. The market we are talking about in China is about 27.5 billion dollars a year.

The world of mobile games has become an increasingly popular pastime in China, perhaps thanks to the high number of commuters who spend hours on trains every day to go to work. All this has led developers to consider the Asian country as a major market.

The position of the central government has also changed. In 2000, Beijing had banned foreign consoles such as PlayStation and Nintendo Wii, hindering its spread in the country. Fifteen years later, however, this restriction has been lifted and this has triggered consumers born in the 1990s, who are now willing to pay for downloadable and extra content.

For the big names of the distribution like Tencent, the indie titles certainly represent a fundamental success plan. Jeff Lyndon – co-founder of iDreamSky, which has released popular titles such as Fruit Ninja and the first Monument Valley in China – in recent years “Over the past few years, the taste of mobile gamers has matured and refined. People like different things and start paying attention to innovative gaming models”.

But there is not only Tencent on the front line. Alibaba, among all, is the name that is riding more the industry, having published its first indie last year: ‘Tengu: Hiding The Moon’, a game of the Taiwan Ryotaro Studio. The growth figures are also confirmed by Qiang Qiang, East2West CEO: “The rights to publish for the best mobile games now cost about $ 5 million per title, compared to about $ 200,000 in 2010 “.


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