Mobile games publisher Yodo1 has today announced a new division for publishing games on the global market, in addition to continuing to publish Western games in China. Yodo1 will publish games across iOS and Android on both Google Play and the Amazon App Store. The company’s publishing expansion is led by Cavemania, a puzzle action game from Dallas-based studio BonusXP, which is set to launch this September.
China’s most popular search engine, Baidu, has purchased mobile app distributor 91 Wireless for $1.09 billion as reported by CIO Today. Baidu has said it would purchase 57 percent of 91 Wireless Websoft Ltd. The companies have until August 13 to agree to terms on the transaction.
91 Wireless operates 91 Assistant and HiMarket, two smartphone app distribution platforms in China. It has said that these markets have been used to download more than 10 billion apps making it China’s biggest third-party app distributor by both active users and downloads.
The purchase of 91 Wireless shows its efforts at better establishing itself in mobile search, where it has lost traction to other competitors. This is second acquisition for Baidu in the recent months, purchasing Internet video service PPS Net for $370 million in May. These moves show the company is striving to venture past search to match competitors moves. For example, rival search service Alibaba purchased an 18 percent stake in Weibo, a microblogging Service in China similar to Twitter.
The mobile market in China was predicted to surpass the US market by Q1 2013 last November. In February, this prediction rang true. With the purchase of 91 Wireless, Baidu is looking to become the starting page page for all mobile devices in China. At the price of $1.09 billion for only 57 percent of the company, it also shows that it is willing to spend a pretty penny to make that possible.
China’s largest web company Tencent recently launched a TV commercial campaign for its messaging app WeChat which targets the Singaporen market.
The TV commercial features two Taiwanese celebrities — Alan Luo Zhi-Xiang and Raine Yang. The commercial, which can be seen here, shows the two stars demonstrating some functions of the app, including a voice recognition functionality and stickers, a special emoji. The same TV commercial was used in Taiwan. The TV spot will air on free-to-air channels including Channel 8, Channel U, W drama and E-City starting this week.
Louis Song, country manager of Tencent’s international business group for Malaysia and Singapore, said the Chinese web giant hopes to increase the app’s presence and market share in the country.
“Singapore is a very strong market like Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Thailand,” he says. “We are witnessing a sturdy growth in mobile application platforms.”
At the 2013 Boao Forum For Asia in early April, Tencent president Martin Lau revealed that WeChat now has more than 40 million overseas users. In total, WeChat last reported that its user base was more than 300 million. Compared to other messaging apps in the Asian markets, Line Corp.’s Line currently has 120 million users, up by 20 million since January, and South Korean KakaoTalk has 70 million users. In the U.S., messaging app giants like WhatsApp haven’t released user base figures, but its estimated to be as high as 300 million, and Kik Messenger has officially said it now has more than 50 million registered users.
As Kik Interactive CEO Ted Livingston recently told Inside Mobile Apps, “messaging is the killer app in mobile.” Adding that whoever wins messaging will win this era of computing. While the messaging market remains very fragmented, WeChat making a market play in Singapore is another sign of a company wanting to spread its reach and become a global player in messenging.
Full-service Chinese mobile games publisher Yodo1 announced it has secured $5 million in Series A Funding. The round was led by SingTel Group with additional funding from original investor Chang You Fund.
Yodo1 CEO Henry Fong said in a statement that the main challenge for the company now is keeping up with Western developers eager to join its roster of partners. For this reason, the new funding will be used to expand Yodo1′s production capacity to work with more Western game companies and build the company’s platform and production team.
Yodo1, which came out of stealth in June 2012 with $2 million in seed funding, helps its publishing partners crack the Chinese market by focusing on app store distribution, social distribution, payments and advertising. Yodo1 also does a deep dive into the localization process with a fully-staffed studio of artists and developers who work with Western partners to adapt their games to Chinese tastes.
Social game distribution and monetization company PapayaMobile announced the launch of a new SDK to help independent Android developers access the Chinese mobile market.
The first free game with in-app purchases to launch in China using the new SDK will be Scottish developer Cobra Mobile’s WW2 shooter iBomber for Android.
The PapayaMobile SDK helps Android app and game developers monetize by plugging into the company’s cross-promotion and ad network AppFlood, where they can buy, sell or exchange ads and traffic with advertisers and other publishers.
More importantly, the SDK also plugs into China Mobile, China’s biggest mobile operator with more than 700 million subscribers, to allow for in-app purchasing via carrier billing.
Carrier billing is tremendously important if not absolutely necessary in order to monetize in the Chinese market. In November 2012, CocoaChina’s US GM Lei Zhang Zhang told us that carrier billing accounted for 90 percent of Fishing Joy 2’s total revenue of $1.6 million per month. At the 2013 Game Developers Conference Yodo1’s CEO Henry Fong told us that there may be other companies that are able to push games and apps to the many Android app stores in China, but that only those with standing deals with the mobile carriers and access to carrier billing will be able to monetize.
The official release from PapayaMobile claims that the company is taking the lead in opening up the Chinese market to Western developers, but in reality they are already in competition with big and established players such as the aforementioned Yodo1 (which also offers important localization services), InMobi’s App Publish distribution platform which can push an app or game to more than 130 Android app stores in a few clicks, and others.
Full-service Chinese mobile games publisher Yodo1 revealed a social games platform it plans to launch in Western markets. The platform, titled Kryptanium, allows developers to add social and cross-promotional features into every game, including single-player games, with an API.
The Kryptanium platform emerged naturally out of Yodo1’s localization and publishing business, helping Western developers monetize their games in China. In Western markets, social networks like Twitter and Facebook are invaluable tools to developers for marketing their games, and can, in the best cases, have a viral affect. But this is much harder to achieve in China where Google, Twitter and Facebook are blocked.
Kryptanium aims to solve this problem by integrating with the popular alternatives to Facebook in China (Sina Weibo, QQ and Tencent Weibo) and pulling them all to one platform which can then cross-promote to a large audience. An added benefit to the platform is that the user can interact with the platform, tap on cross-promotions and download new games all without exiting their current game session. “Never leave the game,” is the guiding philosophy, Yodo1’s vice president and lead on Kryptanium Spencer Liu told us. “When the developers we work with saw Kryptanium in action, the response was very enthusiastic. They asked us how they can use it, right now and in the U.S.”
Read the rest on our sister site Inside Social Games.
Android-focused mobile game developer and publisher Animoca today released Android tablet data gathered from its network of users, which showed that four of the five most used tablets were of the 7-inch screen variety, and Samsung devices were the first and second most popular tablets overall.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7 (includes p3100 and p3113) took an 11.8 percent share and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 grabbed an 8.3 percent share. Amazon’s Kindle Fire devices also faired well, coming in at the No. 3 and No. 4 spots, with a 7.5 percent share for the standard Kindle Fire and a 4.9 percent share with the HD model. Another notable tablet was Asus’ Google Nexus 7, which generated a 3.8 percent share.
Beyond the No. 7 spot, the remaining tablets each claimed less than a one percent market share. So, given an error margin of 0.1 percent and the slight differences between the No. 8 tablet onward, Animoca says it couldn’t be sure of the correct ordering.
Developers should be creating mobile apps made for their target audience, and knowing which devices to develop for like tablets, in terms of screen size, hardware specifications, and platform market share, is important.
Animoca previously released similar data that analyzed for most used devices on its network, taking a look at the top Android smartphones in markets like the U.S., Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and India.
The Hong Kong-based game company collected data for this report from 978,000 users worldwide who used Google Play and played an Animoca game on a tablet device between February 18 to March 20.
Chinese mobile game developer and platform maker CocoaChina today revealed that its flagship franchise Fishing Joy is now generating $6.28 million per month in revenue worldwide, with more than 10 million daily active users (DAU), doubling its monthly revenue in two months.
CocoaChina attributes the game’s success to continued optimization and the rapid growth of the Chinese smartphone user base. The company also increased the game’s reach by reducing the game’s package size, making it more attractive to users with limited bandwidth and data plans.
Last month, the company’s U.S. general manager Lei Zhang told Inside Mobile Apps that Fishing Joy 2 (responsible for the vast majority of the revenue) was generating $4 million in gross revenue as of February.
Inside Mobile Apps also talked to CocoaChina in Nov. 2012 about the company’s strategy for the Chinese market. Zhang attributed Fishing Joy 2’s success to his company’s broad distribution strategy, a stringent anti-piracy policy, and most importantly, access to carrier billing. Back then Fishing Joy 2 was pulling in $1.6 million a month from the Chinese Android market.
Fishing Joy’s 10 million DAU is nothing to sneeze at as well. Monthly active users (MAU) and DAU figures are generally kept close to the vest by mobile game developers. For comparison, Electronic Arts’ hit resource management game The Simpsons: Tapped Out was said to have reached 2.8 million DAU after the title was ranked No. 1 on the iOS top grossing apps charts in October 2012.
Inside Mobile App also recently reported on CocoaChina’s high profile hire of Kai Zhao as its U.S. VP of Engineering and its plans to launch a social gaming platform in 2013.
Mobile game developer and publisher Animoca today revealed more data from its massive Android portfolio, focusing specifically on Japan. The company saw no dominant smartphone in the country and little usage from Android’s most recent OS version, Jelly Bean.
Since October. 2012, Japan is the leading country worldwide in revenue on Google Play, ahead of both the U.S. and South Korea, coming in at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. The market is especially important for mobile game developers, where 88 percent of total revenues across all categories for Google Play came from the games category.
South Korean-headquartered Samsung had two of its handsets in the top three on Animoca’s chart of the top 10 Android smartphones in Japan. The Galaxy S3 ranked No. 1, with a 6.2 percent market share of smartphones, and the Galaxy S2 ranked No. 3, with a 4.45 percent. Animoca’s data showed the fragmentation of the Japanese market, with a wide-variety of brands in the top 10, including the likes of Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, Sharp and more. Also, Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S3 handset only nabbed the top spot by 0.1 percent over the Sony Xperia Acro HD, which had a 6.1 percent market share.
Moving on to the top Android OS versions in Japan, Ice Cream Sandwich (version 4.0.3 and 4.0.4 combined) was running on 48.3 percent of smartphones in the country. Interestingly, Google’s most recent Android OS version, Jelly Bean, didn’t event make the top five in Japan.
On Tuesday, the Hong Kong-based company released similar data for the U.S. Samsung’s Galaxy S3 handset was the No. 1 Android smartphone in the states as well, based on usage of Animoca’s games between Jan. 15 and Feb. 15, with an 8.8 percent market share. Ice Cream Sandwich was also the top version of the Android platform in both the U.S. and Japan, grabbing a 33.5 percent market share among the top Android OS versions in the U.S. Although, Jelly Bean did rank in the top five in the U.S. at theNo. 3 spot, grabbing a 15.4 percent of devices running the Android OS.
Animoca collected data for today’s report between Feb. 4 and March 6 from Japanese users of Animoca’s Android smartphone games downloaded through Google Play — tablets excluded.
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