Fan­tasy game has gen­er­ated bil­lions of yuan for on­line gi­ant in China

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By OUYANG SHIJIA ouyang­shi­jia@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

“Turn on the mi­cro­phone.” Nie Chen­jing has typed those words on her smart­phone so many times that they are etched in her psy­che.

A late con­vert to Honor of Kings, the 25-year-old spends an av­er­age of one-hour-a-day on the on­line fan­tasy block­buster.

She started play­ing the jewel in the gam­ing crown of Ten­cent Hold­ings Ltd last sum­mer to help ex­pand her so­cial net­work­ing cir­cle.

“It’s easy to learn and so con­ve­nient,” said Nie, a new me­dia ed­i­tor. “It’s also a good way of stay­ing in touch with friends and mak­ing new ones on so­cial net­works.”

Honor of Kings has bro­ken records and gen­der bar­ri­ers as it swept across the coun­try. A “make believe” bat­tle craze for smart­phones, it has cap­tured the imagination of Mil­len­ni­als, or the un­der-30 gen­er­a­tion.

It has also made big bucks for in­ter­net gi­ant Ten­cent, rak­ing in rev­enue of more than 5.5 bil­lion yuan ($810.47 mil­lion) in the first quar­ter, Chi­nese gam­ing in­dus­try data­base Gamma Data Corp es­ti­mated.

To put that into per­spec­tive, the coun­try’s mo­bile gam­ing rev­enue jumped by 4.5 bil­lion yuan to 27.5 bil­lion yuan dur­ing that pe­riod. It was the big­gest in­crease in growth for two years.

“And this mar­ket will con­tinue to grow,” said Teng Hua, founder of Gamma Data, a next gen­er­a­tion data man­age­ment com­pany based in Bei­jing.

For Honor of Kings, Gamma Data re­vealed that play­ers pay an av­er­age of 11 yuan-a-month to up­grade their game char­ac­ters and cos­tumes to help them ad­vance to the next level.

This has trans­lated into hefty prof­its for Ten­cent as a re­port by Chi­nese mo­bile data in­tel­li­gence firm Jiguang showed that Honor of Kings Hono­rofKings dou­bled its monthly ac­tive users to 163 mil­lion in May since De­cem­ber 2016.

The rise has been fu­eled by a young gen­er­a­tion that earns less than 8,000 yuan a month. Data also showed that 54 per­cent of the 200 mil­lion gamers are young women such as Nie.

“It’s easy to learn and so con­ve­nient,” she said. “You sim­ply click on the app and you can play it any­where with your friends.

“We even call each other by the names of the he­roes we are us­ing in the game in­stead of our real ones,” she added.

So­cial net­work­ing is a key part of Honor of Kings’ ap­peal to young women, ac­cord­ing to Gamma Data. The game of­fers a plat­form for en­ter­tain­ment and com­mu­ni­ca­tion, it pointed out.

Nat­u­rally, this has made the smart­phone phe­nom­ena a world­wide hit. App tracker App An­nie con­firmed that Honor of Kings topped the global rank­ings for monthly rev­enue in May on both the App Store and Google Play.

“A ma­jor fac­tor in its suc­cess is the bil­lion-plus users on Ten­cent’s so­cial net­work­ing plat­forms WeChat and QQ ,” said Dong Zhen, in­ter­ac­tive en­ter­tain­ment an­a­lyst at in­ter­net con­sul­tancy Analysys in Bei­jing.

“For smart­phone users, it helps them kill spare time,” he added.

The run­away suc­cess of Honor of Kings has also spawned an army of sim­i­lar pro­duc­tions.

An­other pop­u­lar role-play­ing game is On­my­oji, which was rolled out by NetEase Inc, an on­line com­pany based in Hangzhou. So far, it has at­tracted about 15 mil­lion monthly ac­tive users.

Monthly rev­enue for the game is pro­jected to reach 900 mil­lion yuan com­pared to Honor of Kings’ 1.8 bil­lion yuan, a first quar­ter re­port by Gamma Data high­lighted.

Zhai Li, 29, a dig­i­tal prod­uct man­ager in Bei­jing, has spent nearly 10,000 yuan on On­my­oji up­grad­ing his char­ac­ters and buy­ing game cur­rency to pur­chase props that will help him ad­vance to an­other level.

“I love the Ja­panese-style game and its team­work model,” said Zhai, who spends more than two hours play­ing the game ev­ery day. “I don’t mind spend­ing money as it gives me a bet­ter user ex­pe­ri­ence.”

In a global mar­ket re­port from re­search group New­zoo, mo­bile gam­ing is pro­jected to gen­er­ate $46.1 bil­lion this year, ac­count­ing for 42 per­cent of all gam­ing rev­enue. By 2020, mo­bile gam­ing is pre­dicted to ac­count for 50 per­cent of the mar­ket.

Gam­ing in China is also ex­pected to gen­er­ate $27.5 bil­lion with most of it com­ing from the mo­bile mar­ket.

“The rapidly grow­ing mo­bile gam­ing sec­tor in China is fu­eled by a large user base,” said Teng of Gamma Data. “It is in­creas­ing each year but even­tu­ally it will grow more slowly and de­vel­op­ers will need to seek new ar­eas of ex­pan­sion.”

A ma­jor fac­tor in its suc­cess is the bil­lion-plus users on Ten­cent’s so­cial net­work­ing plat­forms WeChat and QQ.” Dong Zhen, in­ter­ac­tive en­ter­tain­ment an­a­lyst at in­ter­net con­sul­tancy Analysys

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