Lessons from China – Mobile Game Apps: The New Playground

Go Lean Commentary

Oh the games people play now
Every night and every day now
Never meaning what they say now
Never saying what they mean
Song Lyrics: Joe South, “Games People Play” – 1969

Games are just a way of life. We start playing them as children and we do not stop…even into old age; think “Shuffle Board” for the elderly. Where there are games and play, there must also be playgrounds, whether physical or virtual.

CU Blog - Lessons from China - Mobile Game Apps - The New Playground - Photo 1Not all games are physical, requiring an actual playground; we must also count board games, games of chance and the new phenomena of electronic games (Video and Smartphone). This focus of Smartphone games or Apps seem to be all the rage. Considering just one country China, we glean so much insight about their “flourishing market” for Mobile Game Apps:

… the biggest in the world, in fact. In 2015, that market was worth 7 billion dollars, with 400 million gamers consuming 10,000 games released that year alone. That’s about 27 new games a day. – Except from below article.

From a perspective of China, there is a lot of business opportunities in the business of games. Considering the economic laws of “supply and demand”, there is a lot of demand in … China.

“There is gold in dem there hills”. – Outcry for the California Gold Rush of 1849

The “hills” in this case refers to the 1.3 billion people in China. That’s a lot of people, and a lot of demand. This is commentary 4 of 6 in consideration of the good and bad lessons from China. The other commentaries detailed in this series are as follows:

  1. History of China Trade: Too Big to Ignore
  2. Why China will soon be Hollywood’s largest market
  3. Organ Transplantation: Facts and Fiction
  4. Mobile Game Apps: The new Playground
  5. South China Seas: Exclusive Economic Zones
  6. WeChat: Model for Caribbean Social Media – www.MyCaribbean.gov

All of these commentaries relate to nation-building, stressing the community investments required to facilitate the short-term, mid-term and long-term needs of our communities. But this one commentary stresses the viability of Mobile Game Apps (applications), positing that if any entity (individual, company or community) that invest in the development of Mobile Game Apps – the new playground – for China and other markets, that there would be some definite returns, reaping of the benefits.

CU Blog - Lessons from China - Mobile Game Apps - The New Playground - Photo 3With 1.3 billion people, the entities that foster innovation for electronic games for China will surely enjoy the resultant economic benefits – those who sow will reap – such as entrepreneurship and jobs. This fact is among the lessons, good and bad, for the Caribbean to learn from China. This is a fine model for economic empowerment; consider the experiences of the Mobile Game App Candy Crush Saga below in Appendix A – $633,000 in revenue per day! Wow!.

The book Go Lean…Caribbean recognizes the emergence of this new playground; it seeks to make the Caribbean homeland a better place to live, work and play. It makes the claim that innovation and economic growth can result from a progressive community ethos. The book defines this “community ethos” as the fundamental character or spirit of a culture; the underlying sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, or practices of society; dominant assumptions of a people or period. The book thereafter recommends the ethos of Entrepreneurship (Page 28), Intellectual Property Promotion (Page 29), Bridging the Digital Divide (Page 30) and fostering Research and Development or R&D (Page 31).

The landscape for Mobile Game Apps in China is not easy; it is heavy-lifting with all the government rules, regulations and restrictions. But for the “champion” that endures and traverses the obstacles and deliver: Gold! Consider the story here, from this VIDEO:

VIDEO Title – Did China Just Kill Its Mobile Game Industry?  – https://youtu.be/8sSeOShvXik

Published on Jul 13, 2016 – Mobile Video Games are a huge industry in China, whether Android or iOS. But insane new censorship laws might spell game over for the industry.
Contribute! Join the China Uncensored 50-Cent Army!

China Uncensored is a weekly satire show produced by NTD Television. The views expressed do not necessarily represent those of Epoch Times.

See the full transcript of the VIDEO in Appendix B below.

The foregoing news story, about Mobile Game Apps, validates the strategies, tactics and implementations of the Go Lean book, which had placed a priority on Mobile Applications – The book defines the mastery of time-&-space as strategic for succeeding in mobile apps development and deployment for the region (Page 35), specifying this encyclopedic detail:

The Bottom Line on Mobile Applications
A mobile application (or app) is a software application designed to run on smart-phones, tablet computers and other mobile devices. They are usually available through application distribution platforms, which are typically operated by the owner of the mobile operating system, such as the Apple App Store, Google Play, Windows Phone Store, and BlackBerry App World. Some apps are free, while others must be bought. Usually, they are downloaded from the platform to a target device, such as an iPhone, BlackBerry, Android phone or Windows Phone, but sometimes they can be downloaded to laptops or desktops. The term “app” is now popular; in 2010 it was named “Word of the Year” by the American Dialect Society.

Mobile apps were originally offered for general productivity and information retrieval, including email, calendar, contacts, and stock market and weather information. However, public demand and the availability of developer tools drove rapid expansion into other categories, such as mobile games, factory automation, GPS and location-based services, banking, order-tracking, ticket purchases [and sharing services]. The popularity of mobile applications has continued to rise, as their usage has become increasingly prevalent across mobile phone users. [The resultant mobile commerce is obvious] as many choose to think of Mobile Commerce as meaning “a retail outlet in your customer’s pocket.”

Due to these conditions, consumer sharing applications have now become intuitive; supplying demand at the right place and right time, dynamically or pre-scheduled.

The book, Go Lean…Caribbean, serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). This administration must ensure that there is accountability and transparency in the governance of the Information Technology Arts and Sciences. The book stresses that the current community spirit/ethos must change. What can motivate people to change their values and priorities? Compelling external and internal drivers! The roadmap commences with the statement that the Caribbean is in crisis, and that “a crisis is a terrible thing to waste”. The region is devastated from external factors: globalization and rapid technology changes. The book then posits that to adapt, there must be a new internal optimization of the region’s strengths. This is defined in (Page 14) of the Declaration of Interdependence:

xxvii. Whereas the region has endured a spectator status during the Industrial Revolution, we cannot stand on the sidelines of this new economy, the Information Revolution. Rather, the Federation must embrace all the tenets of Internet Communications Technology (ICT) to serve as an equalizing element in competition with the rest of the world. The Federation must bridge the digital divide and promote the community ethos that research/development is valuable and must be promoted and incentivized for adoption.

In line with the foregoing story, the Go Lean book details some applicable community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to better foster these qualities and their resulting benefits. See the sample list here:

Community Ethos – Deferred Gratification Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Principles – All Choices Involve Costs Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Principles – Consequences of Choices Lie in the Future Page 21
Community Ethos – Governing Principles – Return of Investments Page 24
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact Research & Development Page 30
Community Ethos – Ways to Improve Sharing Page 35
Strategy – Agents of Change – Technology Page 57
Strategy – Agents of Change – Globalization Page 57
Tactical – How to Grow to an $800 Billion Economy – Trade and Globalization Page 70
Tactical – Separation-of-Powers – www.myCaribbean.gov Portal Page 74
Tactical – Separation-of-Powers – Caribbean Postal Union Page 78
Implementation – Assemble Caribbean Postal Union – Facilitator for www.MyCaribbean.gov Page 96
Implementation – Ways to Deliver Page 109
Implementation – Ways to Impact Social Media Page 111
Planning – 10 Big Ideas – # 8 – Cyber-Caribbean Page 127
Planning – Ways to Better Manage Image – Jamaican Yardies Example Page 133
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Cooperatives Page 176
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Communications – Foster new ethos Page 186
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Technology Page 197
Advocacy – Ways to Foster e-Commerce Page 198
Advocacy – Reforms for Banking Regulations – Foster e-Payments Page 199
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Main Street Page 201
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Urban Living – Mobile Apps – Time & Space Page 234

There is a lot to learn from the analysis of market conditions for Mobile Apps in China and other communities. The lessons of successes and failures of these deployments were further elaborated upon in these previous blog-commentaries:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=8262 Uber App: UberEverything in Africa
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5648 Taylor Swift withholds Album from Apple Music App
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4793 Truth in Commerce – Learning from Yelp and India’s Model
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3974 Google and Mobile Phones – Here comes Change
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1416 Amazon’s new FIRE Smartphone and Apps
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=486 Temasek firm backs Southeast Asia cab booking app

The roadmap posits that the CU will incubate a Mobile Apps industry, forge entrepreneurial incentives and facilitate the infrastructure upgrades so that innovations can thrive. As related in the foregoing story, with some collaboration with a local Chinese company, we in the Caribbean can even gain access to the 1.3 billion potential customers in China.

That’s a lot of low hanging fruit:

  • Imagine the jobs.
  • Imagine the entrepreneurial opportunities.
  • Imagine the generated foreign currency.
  • Imagine the …

We need a lot of imagination … to conceive, design and develop Video Games and Mobile Game Apps. Where do we look for this imagination? Clue: Not from the generation of people playing “Shuffle Board”.

Video Games and Mobile Apps are designed for and by the generation identified as Millennials.

Millennials are also known as the Millennial Generation[1] or Generation Y, abbreviated to Gen Y). They are the demographic cohort between Generation X and Generation Z. There are no precise dates for when the generation starts and ends. Demographers and researchers typically use the early 1980s as starting birth years and use the mid-1990s to the early 2000s as final birth years for the Millennial Generation.

This question of who do we look for to champion our cause in fostering a Video Game and Mobile App industry must consider the Caribbean youth or Millennials. This population has always been identified as critical stakeholders in the Go Lean/CU roadmap. The book identified and qualified the challenge of reaching this group with these opening words:

Our youth, the next generation, may not be inspired to participate in the future workings of their country; they may measure success only by their exodus from their Caribbean homeland.

The promoters of the Go Lean movement conducted a structured interview with a Millennial Mobile Game App Designer and Developer, Faisal Kahn (FK). He is also a student matriculating in Asia (Karachi, Pakistan) and makes the following contributions to this discussion on China’s vision of Mobile Game Apps; (he is also the Web Designer / Social Media Coordinator for the Go Lean movement; see a sample of his portfolio at www.goleancaribbean.com). Consider these responses here related to his insights and experiences regarding Mobile Game Apps:

Considering China’s government regulating impressions of Chinese people, is it important to depict different ethnic groups?

FK : No, it is not important, except from a marketing point of view then. As you know, the game industry wants to sell more and more games, so they add different ethnic groups in the game story to make the game more fun and to add more violence to the game.

Is it important to portray different political, religious and cultural scenarios?

FK: No, its not important because it can spread hate between politics, religions and cultures. But there is a new trend in the Gaming Industry to add more religious and political themes. I think this is unfortunate and unbecoming.

How important is “violence” in your game design? How important is “sex” in your game design?

FK: Game designers are always looking for ways to make their games more interesting and increase the amount of time people will spend playing them. So they add Adult Content (for ages 18+) like “violence” and “sex”. Even though it is rated for adults, that makes teenagers more eager to purchase the game and play it. These days teenagers think that without “violence” and “sex” the video games are boring.

Do you plan for multiple languages? In spoken words? In written text?

FK: Yes, if we want to target the whole world and get them all interested in the game, then we have to add languages like Italian, French and Spanish. All-around the world, except for China, most people understand and play games in English; the exceptions are the Italians, French and Spanish; those language groups normally don’t understand English well enough to consume these games, and they try to learn English. China is a special exception because the government there doesn’t allow the sale of games made in America, especially those games in which there is war between China and America.

Do you plan for In-Game Purchases in your game design?

FK: Teenagers spend their money on games and for in-game purchases; they want more fun out of their games and they don’t mind spending few more bucks to buy special items or new Downloadable Content (DLC). If they will not get new items and new DLCs, then they will be bored from the ones they are using again and again. So yes, in-game purchases are vital for success in any video game design.

Do you plan for Social Media interactions in your game design?

FK: Yes. And this is a simple, obvious question. Absolutely yes … because Social Media is the best way to market games to reach out to the targeted users, the teens and “gamers”.

We have so much to learn about the Mobile Game App industry; we have so many lessons to learn from China. Their large population creates a viable market for Mobile Game Apps. A specific lesson we learned from China is the need for balance in governmental stewardship. China does not want games that denigrate Chinese culture, politics or people, so their approach is more totalitarian in scope. We want to be more balanced in the Caribbean region, but we do need to be “on guard” for defamations against the Caribbean image; for example, the game Grand Theft Auto use of the Uptown Yardies (Jamaican) is a negative depiction of a Rasta Gang that should be mitigated.

So the ideal is a Mobile Game App industry that reflects positively of a free society, yet still fosters commerce, electronic commerce and entrepreneurship. We can tailor Mobile Apps with diverse languages (like Mandarin) to appeal to foreign markets, like China.

CU Blog - Lessons from China - Mobile Game Apps - The New Playground - Photo 2

Sample Video Games Popular on the Market today.

The Caribbean is hereby urged to lean-in to this Go Lean confederation roadmap. These efforts can help our region, create jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities, to help make the Caribbean homeland a better place to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the free e-Book of  Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


Appendix A – “Candy Crush Saga” Reception

Candy Crush Saga is a mobile match-three puzzle video game released by King on April 12, 2012, for Facebook, other versions for iOSAndroidWindows Phone, and Windows 10 followed. It is a variation on their browser game Candy Crush.[1]

According to review aggregator website Metacritic, the game received an average review score of 79/100, indicating generally positive reviews.[5] Ellie Gibson of Eurogamer referred to Candy Crush Saga as 2013’s “Game of the Year”.[6]

Candy Crush Saga had over ten million downloads in December 2012.[7] In July 2013, it was estimated that Candy Crush Saga at the time had about 6.7 million active users and earned revenue of $633,000 per day in the US section of the iOS App Store alone.[8] In November 2013, the game had been installed 500 million times across Facebook and iOS and Android devices.[9] According to Business Insider, Candy Crush Saga is the most downloaded iOS app for 2013.[10] In 2014, Candy Crush Saga players spent over $1.33 billion on in-app purchases which was a decline from the previous year, since in the second half of 2013 players spent over $1.04 billion.[3]

Candy Crush received particular mention in Hong Kong media, with reports that one in seven Hong Kong citizens plays the game.[11] The game is also featured in [Music Artist] Psy‘s music video “Gentleman“.[12] In December 2013, King entered the Japanese market with a series of television commercials in Japan, and by December 4 it had become the 23rd most downloaded game in Japan on Android devices and number 1 most downloaded from the App Store.[13]

Source: Retrieved 08/28/2016 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candy_Crush_Saga#Reception


Appendix B – Transcript – China Uncensored: Did China Just Kill Its Mobile Game Industry?

By Chris Chappell

Your princess isn’t in another castle. She’s been kidnapped by…Chinese censors.

Video games makers are no strangers to censorship. Now there are a lot of different opinions about the degree to which video games should or shouldn’t be censored—mainly over the level of violence. But as of the beginning of this month, China has taken video game censorship to a whole new level.

For years, the Chinese regime had banned video game consoles. Although that ban has now been lifted—restrictions apply. And it’s left a void that allowed a flourishing mobile game market.

The biggest in the world, in fact. In 2015, that market was worth 7 billion dollars, with 400 million gamers consuming 10,000 games released that year alone. That’s about 27 new games a day.

But this is about to be a thing of the past. As of this month, Chinese censors will need to approve every mobile game before it’s released. Games that are already released will have to retroactively get approval before an October deadline.

The government organ in charge of this is the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television. And now apparently games? The guidelines allow the Chinese authorities to ban pretty much any game they want.

For example, some developers in China have reported their games got canned because they contained English words. Not politically charged words. Pointless video game words like “mission start” and “warning.” Others have reported similar problems with games containing traditional Chinese characters—that’s what they use in Hong Kong and Taiwan, but not the Mainland.

Doesn’t stop there. The Cyberspace Administration of China is the agency responsible for censorship and control over China’s Internet. Starting August 1st, mobile app developers will be required to give users’ personal information to the agency. That’s crazy! I much prefer to voluntarily give all my information up.

But this isn’t just about censorship. It’s also about business. And this is going to kill the indie game scene in China. The mobile game market in China is super competitive. According to one developer interviewed by Sixth Tone, “If you’re lucky a game will make you 1,500 yuan.”

That’s about 200 bucks. But getting your new game approved can cost over 2,000. Why so much? Well, for one, don’t expect the censors to download your game. They don’t have time! You, the developer, have to send them a phone with an active sim card and data plan, and your game pre-installed. Two phones if you’re publishing on iOS and Android. It’s a pretty sweet gig, being a Chinese censor. It also can take up to 3 months to get your game approved. If you’re an indie developer, working alone, investing your own money into a project, that’s a long wait for a return on investment. That is, if everything works smoothly.

This basically means most indie game makers won’t be able to survive. Instead, they’ll get stomped on—like proverbial goombas—by big corporations like Tencent and Netease, companies with close ties to the government.

Now these new restrictions don’t apply to foreign game makers. They were taken care of back in February. Foreign companies are required to work with domestic content providers. And they now need to get approval from… SAPPRFT… for online publication of any “creative works.”

Wait, so does that mean they don’t need approval if their games aren’t very creative? There might be a future for Great Giana Sisters after all!

So what do you think about the future of gaming in China? Is there room for a sequel? Or will it be…game over? Leave your comments below.
Source: The Epoch Times Magazine – Posted 08/13/2016; retrieved 08/28/2016 from: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/2114481-china-uncensored-did-china-just-kill-its-mobile-game-industry/


Share this post:
, , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *