Once you are done with culturalizing your in-app contents, the next thing that you want to deal with is the external culturalization – third-party integrations. While the integration with Facebook or Google+ and VISA or MasterCard secures social gameplay and convenient payment in the rest of the world, it just won’t work in Mainland of China. The same situation applies also in the payment system. To succeed, you need to play by the local rules and make integrations with local service providers.
While Apple’s App Store is the standard place for iOS gamers like all around the world, Android ecosystem in China is totally a different story. Unlike its dominance in most markets, Google Play is a minor player and quite tricky in terms of in-app purchases in China. Since game monetization is key to the success of your games, partnerships with third party app stores become very important. If you are serious about the economical success in China, you should upload your games to at least the top 20 stores for acquiring millions of downloads.
Top 20 Android App Markets in China
Image Credit: TalkingData/Newzoo Monthly Rankings
Before uploading, you’d better do enough investigation on each app store – app uploading, identification, censorship and of course, the payment module. For your success, it’s vital to make sure that the payment connection of your game and the app store is well tested, which might require somewhat tweaks to the coding of your games. In this case, leveraging proper frameworks like Appium surely could benefit you with cross-platform testing on real Android and iOS devices simultaneously.
Social Network Services (SNS)
When it comes to social network services in the West, it is no brainer to integrate your games with Facebook and Google+. But with Facebook, Twitter and Google+ all blocked in China, you need to partner with local SNS.
Same as Android App Stores in China, there are lots of local SNS in China, QQ, WeChat, Tencent Weibo, Sina Weibo, to name a few. Unlike publishing your games to as many stores as possible, you obviously can’t integrate with all of the social networks. Among the crowds, QQ, Sina Weibo and WeChat are Top 3 SNS that you should definitely connect.
- Tencent’s Q1’15 Financial Release shows that QQ’s monthly active users (MAU) hit 832 million users and WeChat’s MAU was 549 million.
- At the same time, Sina Weibo had 198 million MAU for the month of March 2015, according to their First Quarter of 2015 Report.
Most of you understand what an important role the SNS play in the success of mobile game. With all of three most popular SNS integrated, you probably would secure at least one billion users to have a chance to engage with your games and interact with their friends.
Imagine this scenario – Your users have enjoyed your game and are willing to make in-app purchases, but eventually they couldn’t find any the most widely used payment options at the checkout. The result? They abandon your games.
It’s rather important to use right billing partners and make smooth integrations with them to boost in-app purchases. To let Chinese gamers easily pay for items in your games, an easy and a smooth payment process is essential. Currently, Alipay and UnionPay are two giant market players, sharing the majority of the payment market.
So before you start monetizing your mobile games in the tempting Chinese market, make sure that your monetization process is functioning properly.
Usability Testing and Optimization
Now after the integrations, there is one more thing you are suggested to do before you sit back to monetize. That is Usability Testing.
Don’t assume that the translation of your game is good enough for your gamers with different demographics, even though it’s interpreted by a Chinese native speaker. Instead, you can hire a group of 10-15 participants in your usability testing. During the testing, you need to monitor if the tutorial is illustrative for users, if participants easily understand the content, if your users are willing to make in-app purchases, etc. Once you get the data from actual users, you need to analyze their feedback to get insights on Chinese gamers’ behavior and preference.
For example, Chinese users normally stick to a game more than Western counterparts within a short time period. But they are also early quitters in front of difficulties in games. By knowing these, you should appropriately adjust the gameplay and game progress to better engage with your Chinese gamers – No easy-to-pass, no early big challenges.
Also, it is worth asking your participants’ opinions on the game size. In general, Chinese gamers prefer small-sized games due to many possible reasons including insufficient memory storage, no long-wait on downloading or preference on updating apps/games using data plan.
Today’s gaming success largely depends on the socail influence and how gamers interact with their friends and families. By understanding that, making integrations with the most popular Chinese SNS is very critical to your gold mining in China. The same rule also applies to a large app store coverage and powerful payment vendors in China. And finally, a local usability testing will benefit you to better understand the behavior and habits among Chinese gamers.