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GameDaily Connect Asia 2019: What China is looking for in indie games, and how Tencent wants to help

Joel Couture

GameDaily Connect Asia 2019: What China is looking for in indie games, and how Tencent wants to help

At GameDaily Connect Asia next month, Miley Chen from Tencent's ACE Publishing Program will share tips on how indies can reach a massive audience in China.

Joel Couture,Tue, 22 Oct 2019 15:28:00

Saying that there are a lot of mobile game players in China is putting it lightly. As Niko Partners explained to GameDaily recently, China had 598 million mobile gamers in 2018, and 239 million (40%) of them spend money in games. The number of mobile gamers in China is projected to reach 728 million in 2023. Overall, 95% of gamers in the country play mobile games.

It's a massive potential market, and after a nine month freeze in new game licensing back in 2018, the country is hungry for new experiences for its millions of players.

Miley Chen is in charge of Strategy with Tencent’s ACE Publishing Program and is on the lookout for Western games to bring to China to satiate that hunger. “A bit of ACE Publishing Program background - Tencent founded the ACE Publishing Program to support and cultivate indie mobile games to publish in China in 2017. My job is the planning strategy for the ACE Publishing Program and using my previous knowledge/network to look for more Western games,” she said in an interview with PocketGamer.biz in January of this year.

Miley Chen, Tencent


What’s she looking for? What genres? What kinds of games? What is showing success in China’s indie game market? She’s looking to share that information with you at GameDaily Connect Asia in Shenzen from November 10-12.

With such massive audiences on platforms like Tencent’s Wegame, WeChat, and QQ Mobile, all offering various different kinds of experiences, there is room for many different genres and play styles to find an audience in China. While PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is one clear standout from Tencent, other experiences are finding a great deal of success as well. Ustwo Games’ Monument Valley 2 found that 62% of all of its sales were in China compared to 16% in the US (according to The Verge).

With so many people in China seeking new games to play, there is room for a variety of games in many different sizes, styles, and genres. Chen is seeing some distinct things that are popping up in the market, though, and has some insight to offer on what new big things we may be seeing in the country.

Not that she expects you to just release and flounder in the market. Through her work at Tencent, she is looking to help assist developers in branching out into this market the right way, as well as help developers release the best version of their vision that they can.

Tencent, in its search for global talent, offers support plans for innovative games through their GWB (Game Without Borders) program. “GWB is an official cooperation platform built by Tencent Institute of Games that is seeking for innovative games developers around the globe, which includes GWB Game Awards, Roadshow, and Program Tutor Team and aim to provide global creative developers expert consultation, fund support, publishing support and promotion and other growth resources,” states the official site.

This support program offers development and publishing advice for developers simply for applying to be a part of the program. This program also play-tests your game, with its technical team and judges offering feedback on your work. Should your game get selected for this program, it may be brought on the Tencent games Roadshow, where it will be played and shown in an event environment, giving your game a broad testing.

Other games that the program chooses can receive funding to complete development, and developers can also seek publishing through Tencent on their variety of platforms if they so choose. It’s a lot of potential help to see indie developers grow.

The power of Tencent’s Wegame, WeChat, and QQ Mobile is beyond impressive. Reuters states that “In a multi-billion dollar dogfight with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd for leadership in China’s online entertainment market, mobile messaging app WeChat is Tencent Holdings Ltd’s trump card. The wildly popular app allows Tencent to channel 500 million monthly active users to its entertainment services, a huge consumer base for subscriptions or marketing - pay dirt for media and advertising partners.”

Through publishing on its platforms, Tencent offers a way to vastly increase an indie game’s potential reach (which was the case with Monument Valley 2, which was released in China through a partnership with Tencent). Through its innovative games support plan, its work through the ACE Publishing program, and its reach with its variety of platforms, it offers a great deal of aid to indies in getting their game made and helping it reach a huge audience.

If you’re looking to take advantage of these programs in some way, Chen is looking to tell you much more about what players are looking for, and how she and Tencent can help, at her talk in November.

Interested in attending GameDaily Connect Asia 2019? You can register right here, and don’t wait too long, as discounts on tickets are available only up until November 1.