A great, successful game is desired by all game developers and is tricky to accomplish in this day and age where anyone can create their own game and upload it onto a free application store. A great game is characterized by many traits within the industry and these traits can be separated into certain factors including chance and ability. We will dive into more in-depth details of these traits from the viewpoint of a UC 9game member as one of our Asian-Pacific Region marketing team members at Xsolla interviewed a member from UC 9game recently.
Below is a translation, from Chinese, of the conversation that transpired between the two.
1. Can you please tell us about UC and your business in China? How is the Channeling Corporation between mobile game developers?
UC 9game is a game development platform under UC Web, which is mainly working on UC games. UC 9game started its game business in 2009, and now we have more than 60million Monthly Active Users. Other than working with UC Brower that brings 0.4 billion traffic, we have UC mobile game portal–9game.cn, 9game center client, and etc. In addition, we have a lot of experience in game promotion, and different channeling’s to different products.
UC 9game had shared revenue to partners totaling to 100 million RMB in 2012, and 300 million in 2013. The Channeling promotion fees are a huge expense among web games and game client. If you are already in developing status, then you can understand this; however, if you are at the very beginning of mobile game development, I don’t think that spending a large amount of money on advertisements is a wise choice. UC 9 game believes that mobile game developers should count on creative products at the startup stage. Thus, we decided to open and share our development resources to the public for free. If your game is good enough, UC 9 game will buy it and help promote your game. CP developers don’t need to spend a lot of money on advertisement and clients.
Our shared revenue is 50% which means our clients can get 50% of the total revenue. We noticed that some other company can also give this offer, but they don’t cover ads fees. It is known that if you promote your game on more popular platforms, you need pay more.
2. Why do game developers keep looking for more new channels? In China, why can’t the App Store and Google Play cover as much as they do in other countries? Compared to the App Store and Google play, what are the advantages of mobile game publishing channels in China?
Firstly, channels mean more users, payments, and revenue. Every channel has its own strength to publish your game. It is really hard to publish your game without channels.
Let’s take an example of USA GD. Because of how open the Android Market is, it is easy to build an application market, but as GMS in the USA is still in the dominant position, the API of Google ‘s services are not easy and developers cannot focus on the app market updates. So it is not necessary for other app markets to most customers.
Why does China need more application markets?
- No official app market
- Mobile installation is all new customers know
- Big companies in the game industry want to build their own ecosystem and promote it
- Users will install pirated app
- Due to Governmental regulations, many Games Publishers games cannot be downloaded
- Strong official market
- Official Mobile installation market
- Some other companies like Samsung also have its own app market, but not competitive with its local market
- Piracy is illegal and not often seen
3. As the main Android mobile game publisher in China, how do you think of the Chinese mobile game market? This year, many mobile games prepare to go overseas and with UC having 500 million users around the world, do you have the same plan to promote your games outside China? Which countries do you cover? How is the business in those countries?
The gaming market revenue in China will increase to 130 billion -150 billion in 2014, among which mobile game market revenue will increase to 23 billion to 25 billion. In the year of 2016, the mobile game market in China will be more mature and stable. The next 3 years will be very important to the Chinese game market.
UC9game already started to go overseas and we are doing very well in the Indian and Vietnamese markets. We have more than 500 million users all over the world and over 100 million international users. In India, our market share is over 30%, which is good enough to take the number one spot. We also realized that the Indian market demand is greater than the Chinese markets, but their market is not as developed as the Chinese market in regards to their developers, payments, and etc. So what we plan is to do publishing and service firstly. If players keep playing our games, we can cooperate with local companies to develop further and make benefits to all of us.
4. What do you think of overseas markets? Do you have any suggestions to those Chinese companies？
Only within a few years, the mobile game market in China has developed quite well with more and more choices of users, but less loyal fans. In China, most mobile users are not used to spending money on games, and 80% of mobile game developers cannot even take back their costs. Basically, there are only 10% of them that can make money. Therefore, we predict that in 2014, the overseas mobile games users will increase more than that in China, and it will be very rewarding.
The Three Kingdoms style of gameplay is very popular in South Asia Regions, but not so much in Europe.
We need a strong operating system, which means we have the ability for product selection, data mining, product modification, fine operation, 72 hours service and powerful GS. Afterwards, we need to have a solid marketing ability. Regardless of B2B, B2C, online and offline ways, cross marketing and entertainment marketing, a solid marketing ability is essential for a future successful publisher. Third, distribution capabilities can be a strong way to spread our name through different channels globally. Most importantly, the domestic Mobile Games publishers should also have a good vision to recognize good games.
5. Why did UC choose to work with Xsolla? What benefits will the partnership bring?
Now we are looking forward to working with Xsolla global payment methods to help us open the local markets. In the future, we hope that we could work in-depth to go internationally.
Xsolla also needs a deeper operation within China. A lot of local CPs are worrying about looking for global payment methods. We will start introduce Xsolla to these companies.
6. From the view of UC, how do you make a successful mobile game in China?
There are four main factors:
- Strong IP game with obvious advantages
- Most successful games are based on good operation
- Card games and RPGs are still the mainstream
- Beta test is the first step to success
In the year of 2014, a good game should have the following characteristics:
Chance factor: creative gameplay, empty market, right time
Ability factor: creation, solid operation ability, professional marketing
From UC, 2014 mobile game market will reach 20 billion RMB; ARPG will still remain the top games. Mobile game will enter into a brand stage.
We think that ARPG is increasing because in 2013, the revenue increased from 11.41% to 41.22%. Furthermore, users develop loyalty to a specific game they play daily.
7. Some Chinese companies promote the free-traffic downloadable mobile games. What do you think of this phenomenon? How is the virtual store operated in China?
UC believes that “free traffic” will have a bright future in China. But due to the limitations of technique and policy, it is still in its initial stage. Whoever can open the online channelings and start launching free traffic in China will become the first successful individual. Now, there are a lot of free-traffic service game stores in China such as 360 mobile assistants, free stores (Snail), Wukong Games and Peas. Each of them has strengths and weaknesses for example, 360 has very limited coverage in China which only supports Jiangsu Telecom, Hubei Unicom, Zhejiang Unicom, and Beijing Guangdong Mobile Unicom. Also, there are only 10 apps in free-traffic stores. Pea works with the Guangdong mobile company in the Guangdong Province. The activities will end at the end of June this year. It is very complex to get the traffic and is not allowed in Guangdong province. Snail Company launched the Snail Free Store with its local advantages in Jiangsu Province. Compared to others, they target the whole mobile game market, and Snail offers free-traffic to all apps in Snail Stores. However, you need a new mobile phone number to get the free traffic.
8. A lot of companies in China plan to use wearable instruments and smart TV games. Does UC have the same plan?
UC currently has its multiple screen strategy and we promote smart TV and browsers. We think it is very important to plan to use wearable things but still wait for a specific plan.