Publishing games all over the world is a difficult proposition for even the biggest developers and publishers.
What’s popular in one country might not be a hit in another - even the billion-dollar blockbusters find it hard to be successful across continents.
One publisher that thinks it can overcome the varying gaming tastes from region to region is Habby. The company, headed up by CEO Stefan Wang, has been formed by the core team from Chinese mobile firm Cheetah Mobile, which has previously worked on hit titles such as Rolling Sky, Arrow.io, Dancing Line and Piano Tiles 2.
The latter achieved 1.2 billion downloads around the world, showing the company isn’t just talk but has experience in cracking the global market.
Wang says the services it offers include global publishing for iOS and Android, investment opportunities, free art and tech support when working with devs, market research and analysis, and guidance for game production.
It also offers China-specific publishing and localisation services, given the team’s experience working in the country and knowledge of the process.
On top of all this, the company is willing to co-develop on early-stage projects.
“We’re able to take a game in its current situation and analyse how to make it successful,” says Wang.
“We can also help to add monetisation and other elements, allowing developers to increase their gaming metrics.”
Part of Habby’s philosophy is to make games that, as it puts it, “improve society” and aren’t just mere copycats of other popular games.
Wang says a lot of games currently on the market can have detrimental effects on those who play them that don’t positively impact their lives. What Habby wants to do is make games that revolve around three key points:
- Games that can become a hobby
- Games that can improve real-life skills
- Games that can improve a player’s mental abilities
“We hope all our partnerships with developers and their games are unique,” says Wang.
“We don’t want to use existing games and just change them slightly before releasing them. We want to be unique in this. We don’t believe in copying games like other publishers.”
Cracking the Chinese market
While making a game a success in any region is a challenge, the Chinese market is particularly tough to crack. This comes down to a number of factors that Habby thinks it has the answers to for foreign developers aiming to release in the country.
One major difference is the fragmentation of the Android market, with numerous stores available to users that each have significant markets of their own.
But the differences aren’t all challenges, there are opportunities in China too. For starters, while in the past Chinese players were more into Japanese/Korean/East Asian-style anime-related content, recent changes in the market have meant that users are more welcoming of Western titles.
As well as having one of the largest mobile user bases in the world, Wang says Chinese gamers also spend the most with a high average revenue per user.
Wang adds that to overcome any hurdles in the China market and take advantage of these opportunities, developers need to ensure they culturalise their games for the local market. A strategy that would benefit developers in other regions too.
“Everything needs to be localised such as content, services, payment channels, etcetera,” he says.
“Having done this previously for other games, we are well aware of specific criteria that each region has.”
To get in touch with the team at Habby and connect with them during GDC and Game Connection, you can reach the company at firstname.lastname@example.org.