Interview with Grégoire Mercier, Co-Founder of Addict Mobile

You just came back from the GMGC event in Beijing. What were you there for? How was it?

Actually, Addict Mobile has just opened up an office in Shanghai earlier this year. GMGC – Global Mobile Game Conference – organizers believed it was relevant to invite me in Beijing to speak up at a dedicated panel about “Overseas Marketing for Mobile Games”. Other attendees at the panel included directors – Google, AppLovin, Chartboost, KingNet – with robust experience in promoting games which made the discussions very interesting.

The whole event was great by the way! There were many game developers from China of course, but also from other geos (Europe, South East Asia, US), plenty of marketing companies, and very interesting panels, speeches, etc… GMGC is definitely a good opportunity to meet people and start developing your local network. With ChinaJoy event, it’s the place to be!

Addict Mobile – launch your Mobile Game Worldwide - Gregoire Mercier at GMGC Panel (©Chartboost))

For years, Asia – particularly China – has been presented as the new Eldorado for mobile gaming industry, is it not by now a way too mature market to expect enormous growth potential?

First of all I’d like to stress on the fact that China is big for sure, but many other Asian countries have great potential. Japan and South Korea are both huge markets for mobile games with respectively 127 million and 50 million inhabitants. Most of them are very connected people and players over there feature high ARPU (Average Revenue Per User).
South East Asian countries – Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, etc. – are also growing fast, even though revenue remains still quite low.
Caution! All these countries can’t be considered as one unique and consistent Asian mobile game market, but rather as several very fragmented markets. This is why major Japanese game developers are not dominant in China and the other way around.

South East Asia can be somehow more accessible to Western game developers because people are more fluent in English and have more integrated western ways in their culture whereas China is much more risky.

Addict Mobile – launch your Mobile Game Worldwide - Supercell Supremacy (©Supercell)

Is it still worth trying to succeed in China for foreign mobile gaming companies?

Talking more specifically about China… Well. Mobile game market there is actually very mature and well organized. Chinese people have been used to freemium mobile games for a while. Competition is also fierce. There are so many and skilled game developers in China (some people report over 30,000 game developers over the country!).

Sure, Chinese mobile market is so big that the volume of downloads can be huge and could compensate. Still. Western developers must be cautious as the chances to really make money eventually are limited:

  1. Competition is heavy: Chinese game developers are numerous and quite skilled as to make good games with solid monetization patterns.
  2. Asian people – and Chinese especially – are not used to play the same games, gameplay and graphics as Western people. It can be very complicated to build an attractive game for Asian people.
  3. Concerning the marketing, game developers there rely much more on publishers than in Western countries. The publishing/advertising of a game is very different. There are many different Android app stores (compared to usually one in Western geos: Google Play) and these app stores control most of the market. Few companies have a strong catch on the business.Especially Tencent and Netease.
  4. Chinese government made the launch of mobile games even more complicated in 2016. Game developers must now have an official license number to be able to publish games in China, and all the games must be approved by the government before being released. It limits the possibility to launch a game.

Do you think we will see more and more Chinese mobile games on mobile in Europe or in the US?

Well indeed Chinese game developers are now more and more interested in promoting their games worldwide. Overall, the mobile gaming market becomes more and more global: both western and Chinese game developers try to penetrate all the markets. Thus it’s an exciting moment for Addict Mobile as it appeals to what is clearly our field of expertise. We have been developing technologies for years with this goal: offering an integrated service to scale user acquisition on many sources and deal with huge amounts of data to assist clients with worldwide ambition.

Also, Chinese game developers suffer from the same cultural distortions western developers can experience while promoting their game in Asia: different references and mythology, different graphics, different ways to manage promotion… it’s complicated for them as well.