Gu Xin: 37GAMES Will Be a Good Partner for Western Developers
This year’s Game Developers Conference saw a sharp increase in the number of Chinese companies both attending the GDC and hosting their own booths. It’s a recent trend that should bring little surprise to those familiar with the gaming industry. As China projects to be the largest market for game companies more and more young Chinese companies are looking to learn from their seasoned Japanese, American, and European counterparts.
During the GDC 2015, 2P got a chance to interview with Mr. Gu Xin from 37Games to ask what the GDC means to Chinese companies and, perhaps more importantly, what the increased Chinese presence means for the game industry as a whole.
2P: Thanks for taking the time to answer a few of our questions. Firstly, are you surprised to see so many people from your own country here at the GDC?
Gu Xin: Not really. The gaming industry in China is already extremely crowded, so it’s natural that we’re all starting to branch out and move into new markets.
2P: You mentioned new markets -- but most Western countries have been gaming for decades. What do you feel the Chinese bring to the table for both the gaming industry and the player?
Gu Xin: Well, as far as players are concerned, most Chinese games are free to play. Add this to the fact that Chinese games typically are less hardware intensive -- so I think our games are available to a wider audience compared to traditional AAA Japanese and American games. You don’t need a console and you don’t need the latest graphics card or processor to run most Chinese games.
2P: Most foreigners aren’t familiar with any of the Chinese game publishers or developers. Tencent is probably the only one I’m familiar with as well. Could you tell me a bit about the company you work for?
Gu Xin: 37Games is actually the second largest game platform in China behind Tencent. In 2012 we started to expand outside of China. We have platforms in Mainland China, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, and Thailand. We also have platforms for the English speaking market, France, and Turkey. We’re going to be in Germany and Brazil soon, too. In the smaller, niche markets we’ve created new brands -- but for Europe and North America we’re really trying to push the 37Games name and make us more well-known across the industry.
Many Westerners are playing Chinese games but are completely unaware of it. We know that in the West China gets a bad rap concerning quality and originality, so many Chinese companies try to conceal the fact that they’re Chinese. We’re not really going to hide it.
2P: So what brings you to this conference?
Gu Xin: I’m doing localization -- so I’m basically here to learn from the best in our industry. I’ve talked with localization staff from Bungie, Nintendo of America, and Activision. It’s awesome meeting these people because I can show up here and gain a condensed version of their knowledge and experience. Beyond the professional aspect -- it’s just cool to meet these people in person -- I’ve been playing Nintendo’s franchises since I was a kid and to actually meet these people in person is unreal.
2P: It seems like you’ve learned a lot from others. What kind of value is 37Games bringing to this conference? What can people “get from you”, so to speak?
Gu Xin: China has a lot of people. I’m sure you already know that. Gaming consoles were just recently legalized in China. The Chinese market is different from most -- and for foreign companies they will need a Chinese partner to help ensure their game is published here without any issues. So basically, we’re also here to let foreigners know that if they’re interested in tapping the biggest userbase in the world then they can partner with 37Games.
I think we have a very attractive position in the domestic market. 37Games is big -- but not like Tencent. They’re going to take a larger share of the revenue from their partners. We have enough muscle to localize and promote games for Mainland China but I don’t feel like we would be nearly as controlling as a company like Tencent would be.