Prince Vajiralongkorn to Become Thailand’s New King

Thailand has begun the process of naming Prince Vajiralongkorn as the new king of Thailand, becoming King Rama X or the 10th king of the Chakri dynasty. According to the BBC, however, there has been a lot of uncertainty as Prince Vajiralongkorn wanted to postpone the process by at least a year in order to allow the country to mourn his father. The Prince also has to accept the offer when it is extended to him. “Correspondents say Thailand was left in an odd constitutional limbo as the prince, the undisputed heir, should have succeeded his father immediately.”

Overwatch Continues to Dominate eSports Scene

Next Generation eSports (NGE) is the latest third-party tournament organizer to launch an Overwatch-based event (titled the Overwatch Winter Premiere). Blizzard has recently launched an effort to run an Overwatch league itself with permanent teams, professional oversight and more. But the eSports tournament scene continues to be convoluted as third-party vendors with various affiliations get involved – we are not seeing a push for consolidation yet, nor do we see consistency from year to year or on a global scale. It remains to be seen how eSports tournaments will be managed in the long-term across the different regions as we have seen different countries approach tournaments in different fashions.

Facebook’s Censorship Tool

Facebook has been developing a tool to help their network adhere to China’s censorship rules. According to Engadget, “This particular tool is different from existing blocking mechanisms because it would enable a third party to block popular stories or topics from popping up in user’s feeds, without waiting for the government to make a specific request first. Facebook has openly maintained interest in operating in China, and accessing its large population would fit the company’s stated goal of making the world more connected.” Facebook has been banned in the country since 2009 and it will be significant if they are legally permitted to tap into China’s 700+ million Internet users.

Steam Powers On in China to Provide Standalone Games (and Dota 2) for a Price

It’s no secret that Chinese gamers prefer Free-to-Play (F2P) online titles on their PC and mobile devices. The overwhelming majority of China’s gaming revenue is from online games and only a few titles such as Blizzard’s Overwatch, which is published by NetEase in China, can charge money upfront and be successful. That being said, we at Niko Partners have noticed a growing contingent of gamers who are willing to spend on paid games as well. Services such as Steam and Tencent’s Game Platform (TGP) have been gaining traction in the country and recently Valve noted that Asia is the fastest growing region for Steam with gaming revenues up 500% in the last 2 years. We’ve seen indies, both in China and the West, benefit from Steam and TGP with the traditional paid game model and even larger publishers are finding success on these platforms in China. Read more on our latest post on Gamasutra.

Germany’s Chinese Investment Problem

Brussels, Berlin and Beijing are in the middle of a European debate over the merits or perils of the recent surge in investment by Chinese companies, many of the state-owned enterprises, into Germany “the big brother of Europe”. Some Europeans welcome the investment, others worry, and all agree that the investment cannot be bilateral as Germany’s privately held companies are no economic match, with regard to the ability to invest in China, for the strength of the Chinese-backed enterprises.

Niko Partners on Twitter

Follow us on Twitter @nikochina to see these comments in real time as we publish them! @ZhugeEx is Niko analyst Daniel Ahmad – his opinions are his own and he has a very informative blog and Twitter feed. You can also find us on WeChat (ID: NikoPartners). Here are a few of our tweets from last week:

  • Niko’s latest Gamasutra post on Steam in China, with special thanks to our analyst @ZhugeEX Daniel Ahmad
  • Disney’s Avatar Theme Park Finally Opens Next Summer (Avatar is huge in China) … via @io9
  • EA wants to ensure that streamers disclose sponsorships …
  • DraftKings and FanDuel agree to merge, creating a fantasy sports giant … via @VentureBeat
  • China is making huge investments to become a soccer superpower … via @businessinsider
  • NetEase Eyes Mobile Games Growth After Mixed Third-Quarter Results … via @iga_biz