For large listed online game companies in China, social games are a must at present. According to the CNNIC (China Internet Network Information Center), the number of social gamers in China reached 92 million in 2010, more than that of MMO players(reached 65 million in 2010). Players have begun to switch over to other game genres, especially social & web games (including the future mobile games).
Listed Game Companies Behave More Actively
Perfect World chose to purchase small companies and develop games directly. It released its first social game Perfect Getaway to Facebook instead of any Chinese socializing platform. That’s because Facebook can help make more profits. After all, socializing platforms in China, excluding Tencent, can provide very limited earnings. Another reason is that Perfect World wished the earnings in the overseas markets to become their main source of income.
As Shanda announced last month, it’ll bring social games to Sina, Tencent and renren.com in the coming days. Among the listed Chinese game companies, Shanda is the first to make public its plan for social games. The company also has another plan, i.e. making MMORPGs an open socializing platform. For example, it intends to make Legend of Immortal an open platform, in order for more developers to develop and offer applications to players. Isn’t this a groundbreaking exploration?
Tencent Platform Remains Uncertain
For lots of medium and small-sized social game companies, the overseas socializing sites like Facebook, MIXI, DeNA, GREE and Nate still interest them. But with the opening of Tencent’s socializing platform, game developers will fight each other fiercely there. Tencent examines and tests social games rather strictly. Qzone is the most profitable platform of Tencent currently, but it is not that easy to march into it. Specifically, social games must be posted on pengyou.com first, and only those excellent enough can be accepted by Qzone after selection. However, selection rules are not very transparent. Particularly, social games’ ads should be totally arranged by Tencent. So, whether social games can succeed depends on Tencent.
Foreign Social Games are Keeping a Wait-and-See Attitude
Though Zynga, Kabam, Rockyou and Playdom are in possession of outstanding social games, their entry into China is still subject to Tencent and renren.com’s attitudes toward them, as well as their games’ profitability. Popcap is the first to cooperate with Chinese socializing sites, and it’s recently rumored that Tencent hopes to cooperate with Zynga on CityVille, and that Kabam is negotiating with multiple socializing platforms.
For Qzone, good social games are still in demand. But Tencent has no desire to put too much energy. Moreover, it’s still a doubt whether Tencent wants to work with social game tycoons.