Chen and Wang

Speaking at the China Digital Entertainment Congress in Shanghai, Touch Technology CEO Chen Haozhi and Blue Harbor CEO Wang Feng talked about the changing domestic games market and the challenges of transitioning to mobile platforms.

Mobile growth has recently caught the attention of the entire games industry in China, with market leaders Tencent, Shanda and Netease all rolling out plans to develop the sector. Mobile gaming is also a major theme at this year’s annual industry gathering and game exposition, ChinaJoy.

According to an earlier IDC report, mobile game revenues reached 2.53 billion RMB for the first half of 2013, a 100.8 per rise from last year. This compared to significantly greater turnover (31.3 billion RMB) but much slower growth (18 per cent) for China’s dominant online games sector in the same period.

With 50 million RMB in monthly mobile game revenues, Touch Technology’s Chen Haozhi was bullish on mobile. Chen expects the Chinese mobile games market to become the world’s largest with 25 billion RMB revenues by 2015, and to exceed the size of the domestic web browser market by 50-70 per cent at that time.

Blue Harbor began the transition from client-side online games to web and mobile games earlier this year, and CEO Wang Feng offered his personal observations on development and publishing for browsers and mobile platforms.

Wang talked at length about the shift in company mindset from working with development cycles and breakeven points measured in years, to the quick-paced, flexible mentality of web and mobile development. “Faster to adapt to the tastes of the players,” said Wang, “and faster to find creative (inspiration) for games.”

He also pointed out that larger projects, where one team might be optimising a specific map while another tweaked the engine, tended to lose cohesion and gameplay focus.

Turning to marketing and distribution, Wang saw stark contrast between the structured value chain and major operators that control distribution in China’s online game market, and the self-publishing development model, partnership opportunities and distribution options that web and mobile game sectors had opened up.

Wang summed up, “Before we worked hard for three or four years to make and operate a game; if we messed up the company closed, no second chance. But now we feel like we have allies everywhere; and we spend more energy on game R & D, production and creativity.”

Follow special coverage from ChinaJoy and WMGC in Shanghai all week.