China has the largest mobile gaming market in the world, so it’s no wonder why so many developers are eager to enter the market. That’s no easy task, given how there’s no Google Play store to centralize Android app purchases. However, the Canadian studio Hothead Games, maker of the hit action shooter Kill Shot Bravo may have the key to taking on this important market. In partnership with Cheetah Mobile, the company is winning over Chinese players. The developer announced today that Kill Shot Bravo debuted at #5 on the Chinese iTunes App Store, demonstrating the game’s global appeal.
Vlad Ceraldi, Hothead co-founder and director of development, talks to [a]listdaily about how Kill Shot Bravo is taking hold in the Chinese market, and how the free-to-play game has become a global phenomenon.
What is Kill Shot Bravo about?
Kill Shot Bravo is one of the most popular first-person shooter games on mobile in the world, enabling players to step into the role of a Special Forces soldier who must navigate secret missions across the globe while eliminating hostile forces that stand in the way of a peaceful world. The game includes a very unique real-time player-versus-player mode that allows players to test their skills against other snipers in live ranked matches, as well as a new Alliance Mode that takes social multiplayer FPS action to the next level.
How is Kill Shot Bravo the ideal game to bring over to Chinese audiences?
Chinese audiences love fast-paced action games with intense graphics, and that’s exactly what Kill Shot Bravo provides. In fact, the game seems to have universal, worldwide appeal, as we have noticed that players have been finding it in the app stores from countries all over the globe. But it was the game’s mix of heart-thumping action and extremely detailed graphics that made us decide to bring it to China.
What do you think Chinese players are looking for in a shooter?
Aside from action and graphics, a good shooter game must also deliver a compelling storyline and a plot that really engages the player. This is true in China and throughout the world. Chinese players, in particular, go through content much faster than most other players, so it was important that we created a faster release schedule that gave Chinese players the new levels and content they craved.
Did any significant changes to Kill Shot Bravo need to be made in order to appeal to Chinese players?
Along with the new publishing schedule, we also had to tweak the economy a bit to better fit the payment behaviors of Chinese players, and we reduced the difficulty of the first several levels so that Chinese players could get deep into the gameplay a little faster. We also worked with Cheetah to create a custom pricing, sales and promotion schedule specific to Chinese audiences.
What are the challenges of bringing a mobile game to China, compared to publishing it in Western countries?
One major challenge was working with so many different Android app stores to get the game published, as opposed to just being able to focus on Google Play here in the West. So it was important that we work with a partner like Cheetah, who had contacts at all of the major app stores, including the iTunes App Store, to make sure it got noticed and received the attention it deserved. These efforts were very successful, as the game was featured by several of the app stores and garnered lots of very positive reviews.
With multiple Android stores in China, how do you promote a game in such a large country with no central store like Google Play?
That’s exactly right. You have to work with Android stores like those on Tencent, Youku, Baidu and many others. So it’s a lot more work, but in the end, it creates an advantage if you can master all of them, because so many game developers just focus on maybe one or two.
Will other Hothead-developed games soon be making their way to China?
Our China team is actively working with new and our existing partners to publish all of our new shooter titles that are currently in development. Watch this space as we will be announcing our schedule of new games very soon. We believe that they all have potential in this very important market for us.