It can be difficult to get the latest news from China, given how locked off it can be for the rest of the world, but we're making it a little bit easier with our new, weekly round-up of the biggest stories from the region.
We're working with Junxue Li, CEO of Beijing-based 2D art firm Sunny Painter, to bring the most interesting news from China to you, so you can stay informed of what's happening in one of the biggest markets in the world.
This week, we're looking at a widespread release of Tencent's anti-addiction mechanics and Chinese Animal Crossing players spreading an anti-coronavirus message in the game...
Anti-game addiction systems will be deployed in all Tencent games
In November 2019, the Chinese State Administration of Press & Publication issued an Instruction Regarding Juvenile Anti-Game Addiction, requiring all games with online play to monitor/limit juvenile game's play time and spending.
This regulation has got positive response among local game businesses, as the leading goat Tencent expresses its fully complying attitude.
In this January, Tencent had done a trial in four of its mobile titles (Epic Heros 4, Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils Mobile, Game for Peace, Free Fantasy Mobile). And starting from March, Tencent will continue to install the anti-addiction system to its games, and with an expectation that the deployment could be done to all its mobile games within the first half of 2020.
37 Games announces its first cloud game
On March 18th, an online press conference with the topic of cloud gaming was held jointly by 37 Games and Huawei Cloud. During the conference, 37 Games announced its hugely successful mobile MMO action game Eternal Crusade will be released on the cloud, and the game will be available on cloud on March 31st.
Eternal Crusade first launched in 2016, and so far has hit 70 billion yuan ($9.86 billion) global revenue. It will be 37 Game’s first cloud game. And Huawei Cloud will provide it the full solution.
37 Games also revealed that it has many cloud games in development, and will launch some of them within this year. And 37 Games told the press that it would strengthen the collaboration with Huawei, to promote the growth of the game industry in the 5G era.
Chinese gamers spreading anti-CVOID-19 messages in Animal Crossing
Animal Crossing: New Horizons was released on Switch last week, and although the game isn't officially available in China, Chinese gamers' passion is undampened.
With a new feature in New Horizons, Chinese gamers have created many interesting decoration sets to reference the Covid-19 outbreak and China's containment efforts. For example, one player put a temperature checkpoint on her island, and another put up banners saying "No mouth mask no entry".
These players have posted the screenshots on social media such as Weibo and Wechat, to spread the message of fighting the pandemic together.
Nintendo Switch’s dilemma in China
Early this month, two Nintendo Switch games - Super Mario Odyssey and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - were approved by Chinese state authority, and eventually get their licenses in China.
With this new addition, now the full portfolio of official Chinese version Switch games has...THREE games in total. The first one in the collection was Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe.
It's good news that the Switch console and games have been officially released in China, considering it's a country moving away from long years of console ban. However, for most Nintendo fans in China, the Chinese Switch is a big no-buy.
Besides the poor portfolio of games, there are other three major reasons: On Chinese Switch, players can play cartridges from other regions, but online play and DLC downloading are not available; most true Nintendo fans had already got the consoles from other regions three years ago, soon after the global release; and now with the coronavirus, the price of all gaming devices is tending to spike.
As for the Switch, this means that gamers need to spend 30% more to get a relatively dated piece of hardware. For them, the wiser plan is to reserve the budget for the next generation consoles.
Chinese mobile shooting games successfully breaking into global market
In the last three years, Chinese mobile shooting games had made a successful entry into the global market. The top five with the best performances are: PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty Mobile, Fortnite Mobile, Garena Free Fire and Knives Out. And, at the time of this report, they have got 600M, 212M, 119M, 523M, 51M downloads worldwide respectively.
PUBG Mobile is most popular in South Korea, Russia and the Middle East, and recently Turkey has become its second largest source of income overseas, after the US. In West Europe, Call of Duty Mobile, Fortnite Mobile are more popular due to the brands.
Among the top 5, Knives Out is published by NetEase and the others are all from Tencent.
Brain Out Tops oversea downloads chart for 3 months
Among all Chinese mobile games, tricky puzzle game Brain Out has kept the top spot on Chinese overseas downloads chart for the last 3 months. So far it has gathered 22M downloads worldwide. And it's followed tight by global hit PUBG Mobile on the chart.
The game is published by Ohayoo, a company with a bunch of super casual games in its portfolio.