408 Fruit Ninja clones: How does China deal with its mobile problems?
Strict regulation of an online store can be good for growth, argues China Telecom
While mobile gaming continues to boom worldwide the problems facing developers are universal, with cloning, marketing and viruses threatening consumer confidence in Asia just as much as in the West.
Speaking at the China Game Entertainment Congress today, Peng Zhang, general manager of China Telecom, highlighted some of the problems in a market where he claims there are currently 408 Android clones of Halfbrick's popular Fruit Ninja game.
It's not just cloning that threatens credibility and consumer confidence. Pen Zhang also pointed to viruses and trojans embedded in mobile online games, the short shelf-life of new releases, the difficulty of marketing, and the fact that it's getting harder for developers to break even on game projects.
China Telecom's solution is to invest in play.cn, a dedicated portal for mobile games that helps with all of the above and gives favourable coverage to original content creators. Working with IP owners, China Telecom offers a "green pass" that includes significant financial rewards, as well as helping market and promote games that he claims can regularly reach 10 million downloads.
Some would say this closed system is against the ethos of Android game development, but China Telecom believes the strict control helps developers and consumers with a better service for all.
China Telecom works with content producers to ensure there are no hidden in-app purchases and, once the game is launched through its store, it pledges to minimise trojan and virus activities.
The company continues to audit games once released to ensure payment systems are not compromised or exploited and that consumers continue to enjoy a safe playing environment.
"We should not just pursue profit but also grow the industry and promote awareness of piracy to the users, so they abandon pirated games and in-turn save themselves money," he said speaking through an interpreter.
Pen Zhang added that he hoped to work more closely with the Chinese government in the future to help content creators with favourable tax benefits over the next five years. "Our vision is to join hands and promote the mobile games industry in a sustainable way," he concluded.