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Tencent to crack U.S. market with mobile game WeFire

Tencent game, WeFire, U.S. market

One of China's most popular video games will soon become available in the U.S. for the first time.


Chinese Internet giant Tencent is working with San-Francisco-based publisher Glu Mobile to bring its shooter game WeFire to the United States and Europe this year.

中国互联网巨头腾讯正与总部位于旧金山的游戏开发公司Glu Mobile合作,力求2016年将腾讯旗下的枪战游戏《全民突击》推向美国和欧洲市场。

WeFire first launched in China on Jan. 8. It's a first-person shooter, but unlike American console games such as Call of Duty, it's designed to be friendly enough to simply pick up and play. Like other hit mobile games, WeFire is free to play, although in-app purchases unlock additional content, such as bigger guns.


The highest-grossing title on the U.S. iTunes and Google Play app stores is Clash of Clans, which is developed by Helsinki-based Supercell, and grosses an estimated $1.5 million daily, according to some estimates.


Porting a Chinese game to the American market is not as simple as submitting it to the U.S. app stores. According to Glu Mobile CEO Niccolo de Masi, the American publisher is "redesigning" Tencent's title to make it more appropriate for the U.S. and European markets. Glu could decide to rebrandWeFire under an existing franchise such as Frontline Commando or Contract Killer.

不过,一款中国游戏要登陆美国市场可不像提交到美国的应用商店那么简单。Glu Mobile的首席执行官尼依格罗·德马斯表示,正在给腾讯的《全民突击》"重起名字",以更适合美国与欧洲市场的口味。Glu Mobile可能重新塑造《全民突击》的品牌形象,纳入《火线指令》或者《职业杀手》等正在代理的欧美系列游戏中。

Tencent is the giant behind China's biggest social network, WeChat, but a large amount of its revenue comes from games as opposed to the advertising that powers American social media giants like Facebook. Tencent grossed $2.2 billion from online games in the most recent quarter, over half the company's total revenue for the period.


The partnership between the two companies is natural and be expected to continue if WeFire becomes a hit. Tencent purchased 14.6% of Glu Mobile for $126 million in April, and Tencent has long looked to offer more services and games in countries outside of its Chinese stronghold. Tencent became the world's largest video game company by dominating the Chinese market, but a worldwide hit could generate as much as four times the revenue of a Chinese-only smash.

腾讯和Glu Mobile联手开发游戏可谓水到渠成,而且如果《全民突击》在美国获得成功,两家公司很可能会继续合作。2015年4月,腾讯以1.26亿美元收购了Glu Mobile14.6%的股权。其实,腾讯早就有意走出中国这个大本营,在其他国家拓展服务和游戏业务。凭借在中国市场的优势地位,腾讯已成为全球最大的电子游戏公司,但如果腾讯能推出一款火爆全球的游戏,那么就能获得更多收入,同样一款游戏在国外能赚到的钱最多将是中国市场的四倍。

Glu Mobile is the company behind hit mobile appKim Kardashian: Hollywood, which like WeFire is free-to-play, but users can spend money on virtual accessories and additional content. In fact, Kim Kardashian's game is a good example of how fleeting success in the mobile gaming world can be.Kim Kardashian: Hollywood grossed $200 million in 2014, according to some reports, but now finds itself ranked number 38 in the highest grossing apps on the U.S. iOS app store as it competes with newer and more hyped games, according to App Annie.

Glu Mobile曾推出人气手游《金·卡戴珊:好莱坞》,和《全民突击》一样也是免费游戏,但用户可以付费购买虚拟的配饰和解锁更多内容。实际上,《金·卡戴珊:好莱坞》已经示范了手游领域如何昙花一现。据一些媒体报道,该游戏2014年为Glu Mobile赚到2亿美元。然而移动应用市场数据平台App Annie统计,随着更新更热炒的游戏加入竞争,《金·卡戴珊:好莱坞》目前在苹果应用商店的收入排行榜上不过名列第38位。

Other high-flying mobile gaming companies have had trouble matching the success of their most popular titles. Rovio has had to lay off staff recently as it had trouble creating a second Angry Birds-sized hit. Although Candy Crush developer King was valued at $5.9 billion when Activision purchased it last month, consumer spending on Candy Crush titles is falling year over year, and investors are still worried about finding a new hit to make up for the game's inevitable decline.


Tencent hopes to compete with these companies by porting games that it already knows have found audiences in China. Tencent plans to enter another mobile-gaming crazy country, Japan, with an unnamed title and a local partner. And earlier this year, Tencent launched WeFire in Taiwan and South Korea.



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