SAN FRANCISCO — The largest game company in the world is looking for the next big thing to bring to the lucrative Chinese market, and it’s looking for it in the West.
As a China-based company, Tencent has unique insight into a market that Western developers are largely struggling to understand. During a talk at GamesBeat 2014, Tencent vice president of business development Dan Brody shared insights into what the industry juggernaut is looking for in partners — and how it views the Chinese audience.
“Our main responsibility is we want to bring in the world’s best games to the world’s best players,” said Brody, whose company has risen to prominence introducing shooting, action, and mobile genre games over the last decade.
“Every time a new genre gets introduced in China it usually does through a foreign game, which is world-class, best in its league, to be introduced into the country. So as probably the world’s largest group of gamers, we really want to get the world’s best games in each of those genres to introduce to those players.”
And with regard to content, it’s not just the genre differences that define the gulf between Eastern and Western players. “We can see how Chinese like more competition,” said Steven Ma, a senior vice president at Tencent. “Also, Chinese people are more achievement-oriented. They really care about their level in the whole community. They try to be the top in the whole community.”
But Brody warns that those looking to tap into China consider it more than just another project in their expanding business. As Tencent searches for innovation partners in the West, they urge companies not to take the complexity of the Chinese market lightly.
“I do meet a lot of people who come to China and are looking for a partner — it is a very complicated market. I do recommend looking for partners, be it us, or others,” said Brody. “I see a lot of people come to me and they say, ‘We want you to guarantee a certain number of downloads. Big mistake. There’s lots of downloads in China. We’ve got lots of people, [but] there’s lots of different quality of different types of downloads.
“What’s more important is to make sure that you have a partner that [will be] a long-term partnership, and that you yourself are looking at China as a serious project. With most successful games we see in China, partners will put their top teams on it.”