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 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 initial success of Supercell's Brawl Stars in China, and getting excited to see what's coming from Tencent's upcoming Spark More conference.
Game industry riding on the street vendor hot topic in China
This year a hot topic in China is the legalization of the street stall economy, a move to relieve the pressure of jobless created by the pandemic. Formerly, putting up a street stall of any kind in Chinese cities would run the risks of having your merchandises confiscated by urban management officers.
The game industry is riding on this new hot topic too. For example, Headline Today has put street stall contents into its mini game Idiom Monopoly (成语大富翁), in which players could unlock stalls selling fruits and traditional Chinese snacks.
And many gaming companies including Tencent, Lilith, and MiHoYo have set up ground booths to recruit new staff. In a short video Tencent's HR director sits in a ground booth and shouts out the positions by a loudspeaker - it went viral and was confirmed later by Tencent that it's not a joke.
Last week, leading Chinese game media Game Grape (游戏葡萄) published an article, which gave insights of how to develop a street stall game to profit from the trend. And we will surely see many games of this kind shortly.
Tencent unveils new posters of its annual press conference
On June 5th, Tencent unveiled a collection of new posters for its annual press conference. The event is titled Spark More and will be held online on June 27th.
From the posters, we can see the highlights of the event, including "New IPs", "Immersion Experience", and "Cloud Gaming Experience".
In the event, Tencent will bring updates on more than 40 titles across all platforms, covering genres including MOBA, action, RPG, simulation, and more.
On the same day, it was announced that the pre-register is open at https://game.qq.com/2020/
Brawl Stars takes Chinese market by storm
As reported by PG.biz, Brawl Stars launched on June 9th in China. Before the date, there were many doubts about its performance in the Chinese gaming circle. For one thing, there are already blockbuster arena games out there, for example Arena of Valor and Game for Peace. For another, the art style of Brawl Stars is hugely different from the top grossing Chinese games.
On the launch day, the game took top spot on Chinese App Store free chart, and only after two days it ascended to 2nd place on top grossing chart, just behind Arena of Valor.
Its success could be ascribed to a few factors; foremost, the excellence of the game, and the fame of Supercell; secondly, there hasn't been a new hit MOBA game around for a long time; and lastly, the registration process in the Chinese version is greatly simplified - users can login with a WeChat or QQ account and invite friends on both messengers with one click.
The game is jointly operated by Tencent and Yoozoo in China.
NetEase’s new title brings Chinese wind
On June 5th, NetEase started the open testing of its acclaimed mobile game Timeless Saga of Oblivion River (忘川风华录).
It's a role-playing game with a storyline centered on Chinese history. In the game the players will travel through time and space in a realm called Oblivion River, which is a parallel of the real world.
On the journey the players will meet famous monarchs, artists and poets in China's long history, and help to resolve key historical matters that would eventually cause the wheel of history to go other ways. And the gameplay is pushed forward by interactive storytelling and tur- based battles.
The game features beautiful and polished Chinese-style graphics, as currently many game developers are passionate to build up Chinese ethnic identity in a world which is populated with anime games. Currently the game scores 9.4 on leading mobile game finder Taptap.
An indie game blends music and 2D fight genres together
Rhythm Fighter (节奏快打) is a 2D scroller rhythm+fighting game where players time the input with the music to correctly punch and dodge and unleash skills, as well as pass through traps.
The players assume the role of a chef who fights demonic vegetables, and in every level the music and background are well designed to work well with each other.
We should note that to get games approved in China, certain elements could not be used, for example zombies. This is why there are so many beating-veg games around lately.
The game landed on Steam and Wegame on May 28th, and has received many positive comments on both platforms. And the mobile version will be available soon. The game is indie studio Echo Games' first release, and the mobile version is published by Coconut Island in China.
A Shenzhen company cracked down by police for publishing undress game
By the June 10th report of Big Events in Shenzhen, a subsidiary of leading Chinese media Southern Metropolis Daily, Huachuang Zhenxing Tech, was cracked down by police for developing/publishing a pornographic mobile game.
The game is a fingers & undress game, and the company had traveled to Japan to shoot live porno footages for in-game use.
The company was founded in 2013, and its main business is the application of VR technology in sex products. Porn games are strictly forbidden in China - the game in question was published overseas to bypass the Chinese system, and could be downloaded in Google and App Store.
However, Shenzhen police have discovered the game and raided on the company, having 7 principal suspects arrested and all the devices and footages confiscated.