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Social Games in China - The New Import/Export Business!


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Slides from a GDC 2010 talk on social games in China.

For years, game developers in China and the US seemed to be speaking two different languages (literally!). Top games in China were online, intensely social, based on a free-to-play micro-transaction model, and had low budgets and low production value. Top games in North America, by comparison, were single-player, often console-based, with vast budgets and awesome production values.

Enter Facebook. Which business model seems more relevant now? The tables are turned. Instead of Chinese game developers studying the US market to learn all about production values, smart western game developers are studying the Chinese market to learn as much as they can about succeeding in this new world of micro-transactions -- and some are even trying to enter China themselves, either to acquire talent or to try and tap the vast Chinese market. 1 billion social gamers?

PopCap has had an office in Shanghai for over 2 years, and has experienced both the opportunities and challenges of doing business in China firsthand. Attend this talk for a rapid fire briefing on everything you need to know about online & social gaming in China, direct from PopCap's head of Asia/Pacific operations. Topics will include what's hot in Chinese online and social games, which companies to watch, how to enter the Chinese market, how NOT to enter the Chinese market, how to leverage low-cost Chinese talent, and more.

Social Games in China - The New Import/Export Business!

  1. Insert picture of big-budget console game vs. low-budget Chinese online game<br />
  2. Micro-transactions onQQ Games in 2005<br />
  3. 2009 China Market Overview<br />
  4. ZT Online<br />Insert screenshot of ZT Online item shop<br />“ZT Online”<br />Giant Interactive<br />F2P MMORPG<br />
  5. Pets in ZT Online<br />(help players level up faster)<br />
  6. “KartRider”<br />Nexon<br />Advanced Casual<br />
  7. “Audition”<br />T3 Online<br />Advanced Casual<br />
  8. ShenQi Online<br />Western Journey Online<br />QQ “card & board” games<br />Sailing Online<br />Various Games<br />Mobile free-to-play<br />
  9. “9ZWar”<br />The9<br />Web Game<br />
  10. “Happy Farm”<br />5 Minutes<br />SNS Game<br />
  11. 6 Facebook apps developed by Chinese developers in top 40<br />
  12. How is Chinese social game market different?<br />More sophisticated players<br />Closed vs. open<br />SNS sites competing with developers<br />Government regulation<br />Poor economics<br />IP enforcement issues<br />Greater complexity of games<br />
  13. Who is playing?<br />ONLY play online games via social networking sites<br />Do not play games via SNS at all<br />started on SNS and have graduated to other online games as well<br />started as online gamers and have added games via SNS to their gaming behavior<br />Source: NIKO PARTNERS, Chinese gamers survey in Feb. 2010 of 500 gamers in 10 cities. Niko will publish this in their upcoming 2010 Chinese Video Game Industry Annual Review & Five-Year Forecast, due in April.<br />
  14. China SNS market<br />QQ Alumni<br /><br />Sina Space<br /><br /><br />Sohu White Society<br /><br /> (mobile SNS)<br /><br />Other<br />
  15. Cannot charge; my account is not high enough level (reduces fraud)<br />
  16. QQ Show Avatar<br />Wall history<br />Gifts received<br />Real-life Profile<br />Blog entries<br />Favorite songs<br />Photo Slideshow<br />Games<br />Friends<br />
  17. Top Games on RenRen<br />
  18. Game companies must work with:<br />General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP)<br />Ministry of Culture (MoC)<br />Ministry of Information Industry (MII)<br />State Copyright Bureau<br />Ministry of Public Security<br />Bureau of State Secrecy<br />State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration (SASAC)<br />State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT)<br />State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE)<br />Regulatory Issues<br />
  19. Foreign game Permit Checklist<br />MOC Internet Content Provider Permit<br />MOC Permit for Online Cultural Operations<br />MOC Online Censorship Approval<br />GAPP Permit for Online Publishing<br />GAPP Online Importation Approval<br />MII Product Registration Certificate<br />
  20. MOC<br />GAPP<br />
  21. Someone said he got fired because he stole crops from the boss.<br />
  22. SNS Economics in China<br />Analysis for top-20 game on RenRen:<br />Monthly Active Users: 10,000,000<br />Conversion rate: 0.2%<br />ARPPU: RMB 7.5 (USD $1.1)<br />Monthly Revenue: RMB 150K (USD $22K)<br />Top grossing games:<br />Anywhere from USD $50K-$100K per month<br />
  23. How to set up a WFOE in 9 easy steps<br />
  24. Company set-up process<br />Buy one-way ticket to china<br />Find a lawyer<br />Find an office<br />File a lot of paperwork<br />Hire an english speaking assistant<br />Open bank account<br />Transfer in a lot of money as registered capital<br />Wait for licenses<br />Start hiring employees!<br />
  25. Observations…<br />
  26. 升职记 (office promotion)<br />Total users:750128<br />Daily active users:208765<br />Launch date:2010.01.27<br />Game play:<br />Train your different career skills, complete more works to earn money. Expand your own company to get more money, and invest in houses, buy cars to speed up work progress.<br />What is special:<br />Do bad things to a friend while he is working;<br />
  27. 荣光医院(Rong Guang Hospital)<br />Total users:15696078<br />Daily active users:245845<br />Launch date:2009.05.06<br />Game play:<br />Manage your hospital, upgrade patient rooms, get more patients and expand your hospital.<br />What is special:<br />Visit a friend hospital, do good/bad things to impact friend hospital growth.<br />
  28. 胡莱旅馆(Hu Lai Inn)<br />Total users:4270139<br />Daily active users:144713<br />Launch date:2009.06.04<br />Game play:<br />Decorate you own Inn, to get friends stay and pay rent. And expand Inn bigger and bigger.<br />What is special:<br />Visit friend Inn, invite friend to stay. Steal rent that is not collected by the friend (like Happy Farm).<br />
  29. The main UI. The Inn is pretty empty in the beginning<br />
  30. The main UI. Decorate to be fancy.<br />
  31. Avatar <br />
  32. Furniture shop.<br />
  33. Choose an Inn, and buy bigger Inns.<br />
  34. Reprinted with permission of the author<br />
  35. Looking ahead…<br />First products launch end of this year<br />Modest expectations…<br />Validate our thinking, team, etc<br />Gain experience<br />“real” products launch next year<br />The real test…<br />That’s when we know if we are on the right track<br />