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 the introduction of epidemic prevention assets in Minecraft, 37Games' plans to raise a lot of money to push into cloud gaming...
On the national mourning day, game publishers join the ritual
To commemorate the great efforts and sacrifices that Chinese people had made in the war against Covid-19, and offer condolences to the lives lost in the havoc, the State Council of China decided to make April 4th this year, the traditional Grave Sweeping Day, a national mourning day.
On the day, around the nation, the Chinese flags flew at half-staff, and all kinds of entertainment ceased. Joining in the ritual were major game publishers in China, including Netease, Tencent, Shengqu Games, Giant Interactive and many more, who announced that on the day they would temporarily stop operating all online games.
Minecraft presents epidemic prevention assets in China
On April 5th, state run TV channel CCTV4 reported Minecraft's epidemic prevention efforts, which indicates that mobile games had raised to a new level in public consciousness.
According to the report, Minecraft had worked with Guangzhou Institute of Breath Health, presenting several epidemic prevention-themed assets inside of the game. They include the recreation of hospitals in the frontline of China's battle against Covid-19, and Q&A challenges.
These levels, maps and challenges are meant to educate gamers, especially young people, of the epidemic and how to stay safe.
Minecraft is published by Netease in China, and this is not the first time that the game has made contributions to public welfare. For example, it had worked with Fire Department of Guangzhou to feature fire protection themed game play.
37Games plans to raise 1.65 billion yuan for cloud gaming
On April 1st, 37Games disclosed to the public that it plans to raise 1.65 billion yuan ($236M) fund for the cloud gaming business. 37Games is famous for its beautiful and heavy graphic MMO mobile games, such as Eternal Crusade (永恒纪元) and Supremacy Under Heaven (霸道天下).
And in China, 66% of mobile gamers use low-end phones which cost less than 2000 Yuan ($286), so the likes of 37's games aren't a good fit for them. This is also the reason why hypercasual games dominate the Chinese market, taking away 78% gamers, because they require minimal hardware resources.
On the other side of the spectrum, heavy-graphic MMO game lovers would turn to PC online games for what could satisfy their appetites that not even an expensive phone could offer.
To 37Games, these two types of gamers make up a market of great potential, and cloud gaming could afford them the richest gaming experiences with minimum investments in hardware.
Legend of the Condor Heroes trilogy themed mobile games disclosed
Last week, Wuxi National Digital Movie Park, CMGE (game publisher), Hengxin East (multimedia corporation), and Huaao Media jointly signed an agreement to develop Jin Yong's Legend of the Condor Heroes (射雕英雄传) trilogy into a full array of entertainment products. The plan includes a series of SLG mobile games, experience pavilions and cartoon movies.
This agreement draws great attention inside Chinese mobile game industry. For Jin Yong (金庸) was the most famous contemporary Kungfu warriors novelist, following his idol Alexandre Dumas' pattern, his works often blend fictional characters into real history.
And he had brought to every household figures so loveable and hateful in an ancient world of Kungfu, love and patriots. And his masterpieces have been adapted to hundreds of movies, TV dramas and videos games. A recent example is Tencent;s hit game The Demi-Gods and the Semi-Devils Mobile (天龙八部手游).
April's first batch of domestic games approved
On April 8th, the first batch of licenses for month were released to 55 domestic games, including 49 mobile titles, 1 PS4 game, and 5 PC games.
This time, the highlighted mobile games are Brawling Star (乱斗之星) by Tencent, a 2v2 MOBA; Island Chronicles (海岛纪元) by Netease, a simulation game; Tales of Ancient Sword: Wood Talker (古剑奇谭木语人) by, a turn based RPG; and God of War Relics (战神遗迹) by Perfect World, an MMO RPG.