MyGamez on why full localisation wasn't key to Hill Climb Racing's success in China

Test the water before investing heavily

MyGamez on why full localisation wasn't key to Hill Climb Racing's success in China
Given it's generated over 100 million downloads since it was released 18 months ago, it's clear that Finnish developer Fingersoft's Hill Climb Racing is a very engaging mobile game.

To that extent, the fact that it's also been popular in China isn't a surprise.

Yet, according to Mikael Leinonen, CEO of Chinese-Finnish outfit MyGamez, which published the game in the country, the process of releasing the game in China did throw up some surprises.

Going against what's thought of as accepted wisdom, the game was originally released without comprehensive localisation. All that was changed were key text was translated and IAP prices were adjusted.

"For small studios it's a huge risk to undertake major localisation effort before there's any proof whether the game will monetise in China," cautions Leinonen.

"Good gameplay is universal and as long as Chinese players can understand the language and possible cultural references within the game, you might just give it a go with minimal localisation first."

IAP heaven

Perhaps more important, however, was the fact that unlike the rest of world, China doesn't yet possible a way of monetising users via mobile advertising. That means developers of very casual games like Hill Climb Racer need to rethink their IAP philosophy.

Doing this also helps with distribution as the key Chinese Android app stores work off revenue share, which more lucrative games getting more app store love.

According to Leinonen the result is that "We see higher IAP ARPU in China than in any other market".

"This has been a great start for Fingersoft titles in China, says Jarkko Paalanen who heads Fingersoft's business development.

"MyGamez' single SDK publishing model really reduces the developer's workload into minimum and that is very important to us. Our guys only need to integrate one SDK from MyGamez and maintain one SKU of the game for China."

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.