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 Chinese open beta test of Princess Connect! Re:Dive and the frantic fans looking to try NetEase's mobile edition of its flagship series Revelation.
Princess Connect! Re:Dive's China open test sees huge player numbers
On April 17th, Princess Connect! Re:Dive, a turn based role-playing mobile game published by Bilibili in China, started its open test. On day one, it gathered 6.5 million pre-registered players, and ascended to top spot in the Chinese App Store free chart and 3rd place in the grossing chart.
The game is adapted from a Japanese anime TV series with the same name, which has huge fan base in China. Both the TV series and game are produced by a Japanese business Cygames.
NetEase's flagship game launched another wave of internal test
NetEase initiated the 3rd wave of internal test of its mobile MMORPG Revelation (天谕) on April 17th, and the activation code has become a highly sought after item - in one case, the code sold for 888 yuan ($126) by scalpers.
Revelation is NetEase's flagship franchise. It's oriental fantasy themed, and its mobile version was internally tested recently. Developed with Unity, it claims to have the best graphics NetEase could offer.
Chinese mobile games about to dominate Japanese Market
On April 15th, there were 3 Chinese games in the top 10 list on the Japanese App Store. They were Ensemble Stars (あんさんぶるスターズ basic), an anime role-playing game by Happy Elements; Knives Out (荒野行动), a battle royale game by Netease; and Code Dragon Blood (龙族幻想), an MMO role-playing game by Tencent.
On the same day, three other Chinese games landed among 10~20 spots. The success of these games lay in studying Japanese pop culture and art style, and creating games for genres that Japanese developers aren't traditionally good at, for example MOBA and shooting games.
Tencent and Seasun Entertainment co-founded a new company
Tencent and Seasun Entertainment, a subsidiary studio of Kingsoft, co-founded a gaming company called Xiteng Game (西腾科技) in 2018, but it has been kept low-profile and was only revealed to the public recently.
The company is based in Wuhan, and it has a game in development, which is named Code-D. On the products page of its website, the new title is described as "an open world mobile game, with a vast world, rich map contents and a diversity of gameplay."
It's difficult for games themed with Chinese classic literature to get license
In the past, games adapted from Chinese classic literatures such as Romance of Three Kingdoms (三国演义) and Journey to the West (西游记) were lucrative. However, this type of game have found it difficult to get approved recently. Between May 2019 and April 2020, only 10 such games on all platforms got licenses.
This is a sharp contrast to the total number of 239 in 2017. And for the 10 approved games, they tend to be polished games from big publishers.
Other developers are encouraged to tap into anime games with original stories, and as a result, they are doing well in both Chinese and Japanese markets. As in last year, there are more and more anime games making their way into Chinese top 50 grossing list.