Pokemon’s Localization Challenges

Pokemon broke ground in February when it announced that the latest expansion in the franchise, Pokemon Sun and Moon, will be launched including traditional and simplified Chinese. However, they decided to drop the localized Cantonese names for the markets in favor of the traditional and simplified Chinese versions and the backlash has been surprising. Twenty people have protested outside of the Japanese consulate in Hong Kong so far, requesting that Pei-kaa-jau (Pikachu’s new name) should go back to the localized Cantonese version of Bei-kaa-chyu.

VR in the Chinese News

Virtual reality is in the news on a daily basis at this point. Here are two interesting stories in the Chinese media this week:

  • Goldman Sachs thinks that VR will create an $80 billion market by 2025. The company also initiated its coverage of HTC stock with a Conviction Buy. HTC soared 8.8% in Taipei after that. Goldman Sachs believes that in such an early stage of VR development, platforms will rise first before hardware and content. HTC and Valve jointly developed a high-performance VR platform, using proprietary software and hardware approach for third party content, very similar to Apple’s strategy. Goldman thinks HTC Vive’s revenue will be able to contribute to about 60% of HTC’s total revenue by 2020.
  • ZTE Corporation launched a set of VR glasses whose specs are very close to Google’s Daydream standard. The VR glasses must be plugged into a mobile phone to operate, and will be price at RMB 518.
  • Terraria to Launch in China with iDreamsky

    On the heels of Minecraft’s announcement last week that it is coming to China with NetEase, Digital Bros (505 Games) has announced that they will be bringing Terraria to China with iDreamsky. Terraria is a sandbox indie game very similar to Minecraft (along with another game, Roblox) and there may be plenty of room in that vast market to accommodate two or more sandbox games.

    Chinese Steam Users Continue to Grow

    Gamelook reported that according to the most updated numbers published by Steamspy, Steam has more than 10 million activated users in China. US is still the largest market with 25 million users for Steam, followed by Russia, Germany, China and Brazil. Chinese users account for more than 5% of total users on Steam. In the US, the most owned game in terms of downloads/purchases is Team Fortress 2, and the most popular game played by more users is CS: GO. In China, the #1 position for both of these two KPIs is owned by Dota 2.

    Aeria Games Brings Asian Games to the West

    Aeria Games is one of several companies that brings games from Asia being to the West, primarily to Europe but also North America after translating the games to English. So far, the top games they’ve localized have included Aura Kingdom (developed in Taiwan) and Shaiya (developed in Japan).

    The company has turned the deluge of Three-Kingdoms-based games to their advantage: “We launched a real-time strategy game called Dawn of Gods a few months ago from a Chinese developer. We change the art style and sometimes the storyline as well. This game had Asian-looking heroes and buildings with curved roofs. It had a Three Kingdoms of Chinese history. We changed it to focus on classic Greek, Nordic, and Egyptian mythology. We changed the gods and the look and feel. It’s been successful us.”

    Gaming’s Role in Global Leisure Time

    According to Nielsen, games account for 10% of our leisure time globally thanks to the rise of mobile devices and mobile gaming. The report notes that Chinese gamers prefer role-playing games (RPGs), which we have noted for many years, and that Chinese gamers have a strong preference for freemium titles over paid games.

    Niko Partners on Twitter

    Follow us on Twitter @nikochina to see these comments in real time as we publish them! Here are a few of our tweets from last week:

  • Yet another foreign investment for Tencent. Tencent acquiring 5% equity in Paradox | http://GamesIndustry.biz http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2016-05-27-tencent-acquiring-5-percent-equity-in-paradox …
  • Woman-led ad tech firm PapayaMobile goes public in China http://venturebeat.com/2016/05/24/woman-led-ad-tech-firm-papayamobile-goes-public-in-china/ …
  • China to triple spending on tourism by 2020 http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/travel/2016-05/23/content_25427186.htm …
  • China’s NetEase is making a game for Google’s new Daydream mobile VR platform http://venturebeat.com/2016/05/18/chinas-netease-is-making-a-game-for-googles-new-daydream-mobile-vr-platform/ …
  • 1,887 developers make more than $1M annually from the mobile app markets http://venturebeat.com/2016/05/17/1887-developers-make-more-than-1m-annually-from-the-mobile-app-markets/ …
  • China will have its own Captain America – Captain China http://socialbrandwatch.com/china-will-captain-america-captain-china/