Recently, App Annie released its 2020 list of the World’s Top 52 Publishers, recognizing the most innovative and successful global game publishers. Chinese game publishers Tencent and NetEase respectively dominated in first and second, while some other famous game developers such as FunPlus, Lilith, IGG, 37Games are also listed. Here are the top game publishers in China and their hottest games.
Founded in 2003 by social software giant Tencent, Tencent Games is China’s largest online gaming community and the world’s largest digital entertainment platform. According to Tencent Holdings’ Q4 2019, the company generated total net revenues of 105.8 billion yuan ($14.86 billion). That quarter, online game revenues rose by 25% and contributed 28.5% of its total revenues. Tencent remains the world’s largest games publisher by revenue, and its most well-known titles include PUBG Mobile and Honor of Kings.
As one of the most popular Battle Royale game in China, PUBG Mobile is firmly set to succeed globally. PUBG Mobile (PUBGM) is designed exclusively from the official Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds for mobile. It is an online multiplayer battle royale game developed by Tencent Games with the most intense free-to-play multiplayer action. It is a player versus player shooter game in which up to one hundred players fight in a battle royale, a type of large-scale last man standing deathmatch where players fight to remain the last alive. Survival is key and the last one standing wins.
As one of the top Chinese online and mobile gaming companies, NetEase is a powerful competitor of Tencent in gaming field. NetEase Games is a leading provider of self‐developed PC‐client and mobile video games to worldwide users. In addition, NetEase also operates some of the most popular international online games in China by partnering with Blizzard Entertainment, Mojang AB and other global game developers. The company is now ranked second in terms of global revenues in iOS and Google Plays amongst mobile gaming companies.
- Fantasy Westward Journey
Fantasy Westward Journey is a most popular Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) developed and run by NetEase, initially released for the Microsoft Windows platform in December 2001. The players can explore open world freely and interact with different elements and characters. An updated Fantasy Westward Journey 3D, released in December 2019, topped China’s iOS download chart soon after its launch, capturing wide interest.
FunPlus is a global leading video game company with offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei, San Francisco, Tokyo, Stockholm, Moscow and Barcelona. Focused on the global market since its founding in 2010, FunPlus is well known for its popular mobile games, and the company also has investments in the esports industry including FunPlus Phoenix. FunPlus has been ranked in the World’s Top 52 for several consecutive years. In 2019, FunPlus reported earnings of over $1.3 billion in revenue with only two of its own games, King of Avalon ($721 million), and Guns of Glory ($510 million).
- King of Avalon and Guns of Glory
King of Avalon and Guns of Glory are FunPlus’ most popular SLG mobile games. The two are quite similar in gameplay, but different in themes and background. The King of Avalon has topped gaming charts in 67 countries, while Guns of Glory has achieved top ranking in 45 countries, including the USA and most European markets.
Established in 2013, Lilith Game’s first release, Soul Hunters (known as Legend of Xiao Bingbing in China) in 2014, became an instantaneous hit and made a considerable impact on the global market, and was among the top-grossing games in East Asia for several months. Since then Lilith Games has published many successful and popular online games in the global market. Some of the company’s well-known titles include: Rise of Kingdoms, Art of Conquest, AFK Arena, Abi and more. Lilith Games is now China’s 4th largest game developer and publisher by overseas revenue.
- Rise of Kingdoms
Rise of Kingdoms (ROK), a strategy game published by Lilith, was the most noteworthy product amidst all Chinese-made SLG mobile games in 2019. People can play in a way that suits their style, whether that be reckless military adventurism and ambitions of global dominance, or quiet and unobtrusive statecraft and dreams of a happy populace. Lilith’s ROK pulled in nearly $61 million from abroad in October 2019, beating Tencent’s PUBG Mobile as the most profitable Chinese game overseas for the month.
I Got Games (IGG) is a renowned mobile game developer and publisher with a strong global presence and international customer base. Headquartered in Singapore, the company also has regional offices in the United States, China, Canada, Japan, South Korea and other countries, and it has users from over 200 countries and regions around the world. IGG offers free-to-play mobile games in 24 different languages which have garnered critical acclaim and won prestigious awards. By the end of 2019, IGG’s user community is consisted of 740 million registered players around the world and over 14.6 million MAU (monthly active user). In 2019, revenue generated from markets including Asia, North America and Europe accounted for 43%, 26% and 25% respectively of the game company’s total revenue.
- Lords Mobile
Developed and operated by IGG, Lords Mobile is a typical example of a domestic SLG that succeeded overseas. The game was launched in 2016, combining distinctive game design, compelling real-time gameplay, beautiful graphics and frequent updates, all of which contributed to the game’s worldwide appeal. The SLG game had dominated the worldwide rankings as the top-grossing mobile war strategy game for two consecutive years since its launch. As of December 2019, Lords Mobile has amassed 270 million registered users worldwide with nearly 8.2 million MAU.