Game makers shut out of Chinese market
Chinese mobile and computer games are increasingly gaining popularity in Korea whereas Korean games haven’t even been able to enter China this year, according to industry sources, Friday.
According to Google Play, the dominant mobile game supplier in Korea, five Chinese-made mobile games — Sunborn Network Technology’s “Girls Frontline,” NetEase Games’ “Onmyoji,” I Got Games’ “Lord Mobile,” Loong Entertainment’s “Power: The Rulers” and Tienma’s “MU Origin” — have been ranked on the top 20 grossing chart this week. Besides, more Chinese mobile games such as “Age of Ring” and “King of Valor” have also been named as popular titles.
“Chinese game companies have heavily invested in the mobile sector and have developed titles on the back of reliable financing,” a game industry source said. “They have already proven themselves successful in the extensive domestic market. Now it is stupid to believe that Chinese mobile games lag behind Korean games in technology and entertainment.”
In particular, “Girls Frontline” had once been ranked No. 2 on Google’s top grossing mobile games chart here, where multiple Korean major games such as NCSOFT’s “Lineage M” and Netmarble Games’ “Lineage 2: Revolution” have already established solid market dominance.
“Girls Frontline depicts diverse firearms in the form of girls and realized the concept in a game system that is familiar to many Korean game users. At the same time, it does not urge users to spend much on the game compared to many Korean mobile games. This has been considered a key point of its success,” the source pointed out.
In the meantime, Korean mobile games have remained unable to open in the Chinese market for months. This is because the Chinese government has stopped giving permission to Korean game firms to launch their games in the country since March, a move highly suspected as part of trade retaliation after Korea’s deployment of a THAAD missile defense system on the peninsula.
Earlier this year, NCSOFT and Netmarble Games requested the Chinese government for permission to release “Lineage: Red Knights” and “Lineage 2: Revolution,” respectively. But they haven’t received it.
In response to the loss of the Chinese market, Korean game firms are changing their global market strategy and turning to other markets such as North America, Europe, Japan and Southeast Asia.
Netmarble Games is pushing to launch “Lineage 2: Revolution” in the Western market on the back of its success in Korea and Japan.
“Lineage 2: Revolution is scheduled to be released in North America, Europe, Oceania and the Middle East, following Asian markets in the fourth quarter,” a Netmarble Games official said. To this end, the company will participate in the U.S. game event TwitchCon 2017 in California later this month and promote the mobile game.
NCSOFT will also launch its mobile game “Lineage M” in Taiwan within the year, tapping into the popularity of its original intellectual property of the computer version of “Lineage” in the country. Launched in June, “Lineage M” has stayed on top of Google Play’s top grossing mobile games chart for the last three months.