Takeaways from a Hypercasual keynote at ChinaJoy

Posted by on August 08, 2019 · 2 mins read

ChinaJoy 2019 was my first experience speaking to 500+ game developers in China. You can view my presentation here:

Download ChinaJoy Presentation.

A couple of things that I took away from the event:

  1. Chinese developers have a different sub culture when creating games for their users. Most of the popular games created in China are hardcore with heavy game mechanics.
  2. Hypercasual games are an exception: in China they are popular regardless of the cultural differences that other hardcore Chinese games have. This indicates that hypercasual gaming could be a universal language (more on this later).
  3. There is an unbelievable amount of Chinese developer talent – it would be ignorant to not think about China utilizing their work ethic and talent to build a hypercasual gaming studio. I would not be surprised if the next big hypercasual game developer came from China.
  4. China’s laws make copying a hypercasual games more possible than in Western countries. “Fast following” in Western markets is not very successful for game developers. Once a game is adopted, it becomes very hard to displace an original creator with a replica. In China, where Western markets have no reach Chinese developers have an opportunity to “fast follow” and gain scale locally with 1.4B users. I imagine a Chinese copier building up wealth locally, learning how to create their own content and dominating the Western world.
  5. Western developers face barriers to Chinese market penetration, including the ability to navigate the 450+ app stores. It’s a natural business moat from Western game developers.
  6. Chinese developers lack creativity. The culture constantly makes comparisons as opposed to thinking for themselves. They often don’t look for secret sauce in something and try mostly to default to replicate. This obviously works, but I’m not sure this is sustainable in a fast moving content game industry.