One of the hottest trends in gaming right now is the rise of mobile gaming, thanks to powerful mobile platforms such as the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 845 mobile platform. Such platforms are powering players’ demands for anytime and anywhere premium gaming experiences. And nowhere is this trend more evident than in China.
Mobile Gaming Is Trending Up
Mobile Gaming Is Trending Up
China has the largest smartphone population in the world with a base of over 1.3 billion users, and this includes over 600 million gamers. Here, free-to-play offerings and in-game transactions are dominating the mobile gaming scene, and mobile gaming revenues are projected to exceed 35 billion in 2021. China is undergoing a period of rapid growth in mobile game play that is bringing with it the potential for developers and publishers to expand their user base through new or ported console quality mobile games.
In this blog we’ll explore the massive trend of mobile gaming in China, cover some of the tools and development considerations for mobile game development and porting, and provide tips on tapping into the China region.
Events like the recent China Joy convention in Shanghai are a clear signal that games are big business in China. This year, Don McGuire, Vice President of Product Marketing, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., presented “The Era of Mobile Gaming” to discuss how today’s powerful mobile devices are contributing to the explosive growth of mobile gaming, and to share some powerful points:
- Mobile gaming revenue has now surpassed PC and gaming console revenue
- Qualcomm Technologies collaborates with ecosystem players that include top game developers, publishers and hardware manufacturers such as Samsung, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi;
- Platforms like the Snapdragon 845 mobile platform power mobile devices that give gamers the freedom to play PC/console quality games with premium experiences, virtually anytime, anywhere.
Qualcomm Technologies also announced its continued collaboration with NetEase Games, and showcased a number of mobile games at our booth including Knives Out, Chu Liu Xiang, The Soul of Hunter, Butterfly Sword, and Shen Du Ye Xing Lu, along with latest mobile devices including gaming specific mobile phones such as Black Shark, ASUS Republic of Gamer phone, and Nubia RED…all powered by the Snapdragon 845 mobile platform.
Tools for Premium Mobile Gaming
To bring such games to mobile, developers must balance processing performance and battery life, reduce thermal and heat issues, and achieve a high level of graphics and processing performance. Developing under such constraints requires a top-to-bottom chain of support including cutting-edge hardware, a rich suite of tools, and a strong ecosystem of cloud and development providers.
Tips for Mobile Development in China
Whether you’re porting or starting from scratch, there are unique aspects of developing for China to be aware of:
1. Attain Permits
You must get permission from the Chinese government to publish your game. The Chinese government has regulations to ensure that no content negatively impacts the country’s reputation, security, constitution, etc. When embarking on a game project you’ll need to work with a China-based online entity who can obtain the necessary permit from the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Your finished game will then go through an approval process after which it will be assigned a publication number.
2. Choose an App Store
The Google Play store is not available in China. Instead you’ll have to publish your game through one or more of China’s 400 Android stores. Since each store has its own revenue model, you’ll need to research the store(s) that are best aligned with your business model. Similarly, it’s recommended that you use Asian-based cloud companies to host your games.
3. Globalization and Localization
For content, it’s recommended that you engage a digital language translator specialist who can assist with in-game wording and audio, and advise on any cultural considerations. Keep in mind that there are two written Chinese languages: simplified Chinese and traditional, as well as the two spoken languages: Mandarin and Cantonese, so you may need to develop additional game assets (e.g., glyphs, speech files, etc.) and supporting code modifications (e.g., Unicode support).
4. Storage and Bandwidth
Apps in China feature nice visuals and vivid graphics. The Snapdragon 845 for example, supports 10bit HDR and Rec 2020 color gamut, as well as graphic resolutions of up to 4K. You’ll need to keep this in mind when developing or porting art assets as this will require the appropriate hardware and software for authoring them, potential modifications to your art asset pipeline, and could affect your game’s storage and bandwidth requirements
The Snapdragon 845 mobile platform and its associated tool chain can be used to fulfill these requirements and has proven itself in China through devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S9, HTC U12+, Vivo NEX pro and Xiaomi Mi 8.
For example, the Qualcomm® Adreno™ 630 GPU supports Open GL ES 3.2, Open CL 2.0, Vulkan, and DirectX 12, and powers vivid, high-end PC/console quality graphics on mobile. Also, the big.LITTLE features of the Qualcomm® Kryo™ 385 CPU are designed to deliver high-performance and energy efficient cores so developers can make the most efficient use of the battery, limiting heat and thermal issues.
Developers can also take advantage of the Snapdragon 845 heterogenous architecture through tools like our Snapdragon Profiler which provides real-time analysis, and libraries like our Snapdragon Power Optimization SDK which can help manage power consumption and heat.
Why Porting to Mobile Makes Sense for China
The migration of existing PC and console games to mobile is changing the industry, so much in fact, that 11 of the top 15 PC games are expected to be ported to mobile in the next year.
While porting games to utilize existing code and content is nothing new, the potential for revenues in doing so for China makes this an attractive option for developers. Porting can also offset some of the efforts to overcome the unique requirements when entering this region and can potentially extend the life of your existing franchises.
Developers can get started with the Snapdragon 845 Hardware Development Kit and utilize the Heterogeneous Compute SDK which abstracts away some of the hardware complexities. See the sidebar in this blog for some additional tips on gaining access to China for your application.
The Trend Towards Gaming Specific Mobile Phones
Change Your Game with Mobile Gaming in China
The trend of users shifting from PC/console to mobile gaming is being fueled by gamers’ anytime and anywhere appetites. With this growth particularly seen in China, developers might want to think about how they can tap into this growing opportunity. From optimizing graphics with our Adreno GPU SDK to streamlining the Kryo CPU performance with our suite of Snapdragon Developer Tools, there are certainly steps developers can take in considering China and mobile gaming. If you have any specific questions on how to utilize our tools, please post your question in our forums and we can try to help.