We're not making games. We're making the best platform for Chinese devs, says Qihoo 360
Differentiation from the competition
Tencent is launching a game platform based on its WeChat social messaging network, which has over 300 million users.
Meanwhile search engine company Baidu is spending $1.9 billion to acquire 91 Wireless, which in the absence of Google Play in China, is a leading Android app distributor.
Another of the big beasts is Qihoo 360.
At the World Mobile Game Conference, part of the ChinaJoy 2013 conference, 360's VP Chen Jie was clear in her vision for the platform.
"We will not develop games," she stated, via a translator.
"We will focus on our platform and help developers make the most of our millions of players."
This is a dig at Tencent, which operates its platform and also develops games, although it's currently scaling back on this part of its business.
How more is less
In terms of how quickly the Android market is growing, Jie said 360 had seen growth from 400 million downloads in 2012 to 1.4 billion in 2013 so far.
Yet, she pointed out that for developers competition is also heating up.
"Three times as many games were released on 360 in June 2013 as in June 2012," she said. And while the Chinese mobile games market is growing, it's not growing at such as rate, hence there's less money per game on average.
The number of titles released per month is growing faster than overall revenue
In this situation, Jie said developers need to think more about their audience.
She said that the majority of complaints 360 received concerned the user experience, both in terms of the difficulty of games and the smoothness of the animation.
"People have fragmented time so the level difficult is very important," she said. "Pick-up-and-play is important."
Playing long time
One mark of quality that 360 looks for in the games it promotes on its channel is retention.
"We will look at retention rate before we recommend games to our users. Good story will aid retention," Jie explained.
In this way, Jie was keen for developers to look what genres were already popular with players to ensure players get the games they like.
She said there still were opportunities for new genres to break out and be successful.
All about the platform
But the bottomline for 360, said Jie, was that its focus would always be as platform; a rich layer between developers and consumers.
"We are a channel that's provides value to gamers. We provide assurance to players about our games," she said, touching on the piracy and viruses that bedevil some Chinese Android distribution channels.
(Qihoo still operates a large anti-virus software business.)
"This quality is our differentiation and we are spending more on marketing to extend this because the most important thing for developers is we provide them with a very high quality channel," she ended.