Interview

How western developers can find success in Japan and China

How western developers can find success in Japan and China

Pocket Gamer Connects will be heading to Vancouver for the first time ever on 28-29 June.

Tickets are still available.

So, to give you a hint at what you can expect, we're shining the spotlight onto our speakers to provide a deeper look at the personalities who will be taking the stage.

  • Shintaro Kanaoya is CEO at West-to-East publishing and consultancy firm Chrous Worldwide.

PocketGamer.biz: Tell us about your company's role in the mobile games industry.

Shintaro Kanaoya: Chorus Worldwide is a specialist publisher and consultancy dedicated to helping Western developers succeed in Asian markets.

We have been doing this since 2014 and have published eight indie games on mobile, including the award-winning game from Fireproof, The Room.

As consultants for larger studios, we’ve helped clients such as Space Ape Games, Boss Alien, and MAG Interactive with their specific needs in Asian markets.

Tell us a little about the current landscape for mobile publishing in Asia. Has the opportunity for Western developers to succeed in these markets increased?

There’s no denying that it’s still tough for Western games with the cultural barriers, especially so as an indie, and even more so if you’re not looking to make a free-to-play game!

Cultural barriers are slowly decreasing as Western influences come to China.
Shintaro Kanaoya

Add to that the stiff competition that already exists with local developers and publishers, and it can seem like an impossible goal to achieve success.

But cultural barriers are slowly decreasing as Western influences come to, say, China, and also there are many gamers there looking for something different.

Asian developers still tend to focus on their own markets and try to copy the success of similar titles, which is why we don’t see many innovative breakthroughs like The Room or Monument Valley coming out of Asia. So that’s the opportunity: to create diverse and innovative titles that stand out from the crowd.

There are still a huge number of Western studios - and indies in particular - who are looking to push gaming creatively, and these are the titles that stand the best chance of achieving a good ROI in Asia.

You've recently worked with UK studio Eight Pixels Square on bringing RAID HQ to Asia. How was that, and can you reveal any other projects you're working on?

We loved working with the guys at Eight Pixels Square and are so happy to see the response they’ve received around the world.

Our aim is to help studios like them unlock potential in Asian markets through a variety of activities, and we’re glad to see these pay off for all of our clients.

RAID HQ

On the consultancy side, we’re currently working with some other incredible studios out of the UK to again try to maximise the potential of their titles in Asia.

From a publishing point of view, we’re really excited about our line-up for the rest of 2016 as we have a slew of top quality titles that we’ll be announcing very soon.

Give us a brief overview of the issues your talk will touch upon, and how attendees can benefit from it.

I’ll be talking about how to think about the different Asian markets, and how developers can reach markets there if they take a few simple steps up front.

I don’t have a magic bullet for Asian success unfortunately, but hopefully developers in particular will walk away with a little less fear and trepidation about Asia.

You can find our more about all the speakers at Pocket Gamer Connects Vancouver here.

Features Editor

Matt is really bad at playing games, but hopefully a little better at writing about them. He's Features Editor for PocketGamer.biz, and has also written for lesser publications such as IGN, VICE, and Paste Magazine.

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