The 15th ChinaJoy event was held at the Shanghai New International Expo Center July 27th through the 30th. Nearly a thousand exhibitors and gamers around the world gathered in about 430,500 square feet to see the latest in game business and joint development.
ChinaJoy featured extensive business negotiation predominantly relating to brands, products, technology, and capital. Investment and financing is the primary focus of the convention, as it functions as a means to promote business channels, including both domestic and foreign game enterprises, with an emphasis on leadership, communication, and cooperation.
Among all the business talk, however, was plenty of celebration revolving around games and entertainment. Here are five highlights from the event.
Pocket Gamer and KamaGames set out to celebrate ChinaJoy 2017 with a bang this year, and hosted a party on Friday, July 28th―free admission. AAA and indie developers, marketing professionals, creatives, investors, publishers, YouTubers, and streamers all gathered for the party, which focused on mobile, console, PC, and VR games.
Among the festivities, there was grade A networking, drinks, and casino games. Taking place in the Luxury Living bar situated on the Bund in Shanghai, from 8pm until late in the night, the event was a series of blackjack games, giveaways, and industry liveliness.
Of course, even though the ticket price was free and the party generally allowed everyone in, RSVPing alone didn’t guarantee entrance. Attendees had to arrive decently early in the evening to be allowed in and experience the festivities. After all, it’s not called VIP for nothing!
Meanwhile, KamaGames didn’t just join forces to throw a stellar party: they also sponsored the World Mobile Games Conference, one of the key events of ChinaJoy 2017.
Their Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer, Daniel Kashti, also gave a talk titled “Growth Opportunities Within the Social Casino Industry,” which took a look at where the social casino is going in terms of growth and how standard western casino games (poker, blackjack) are evolving as a means of keeping players engaged while simultaneously appealing to new players.
The World Mobile Games Conference itself was organized by Howell International Trade Fair Limited and featured an international, comprehensive, and professional platform for the mobile industry to discuss meeting the demands of the rapidly developed mobile games market on a global scale.
Gathered together were industry leaders, all analyzing mobile development trends, news and innovation. Plans for how to approach the ever-changing scope of the platform were discussed, while projections for the future were evaluated.
On the other hand, the China Game Developers Conference, held at the Kerry Hotel in Pudong, Shanghai, focused on new ways of thinking, new models, and new practices to ensure success moving forward. There was an emphasis on multiplayer and mobile games, as well as the social applications of these types of games.
One of the primary speakers at the event—and the platinum sponsor—was NVIDIA. On the 28th of July, they spoke from 10am until 5pm.
Take a look at their topics:
Last on the list, but certainly spectacular, was the Ubisoft booth. Not only was it large and eye-catching, it also features quite a few statues of their games, including Aiden Pearce from Watch Dogs, Bayek from the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Origins, and the Rabbids from Mario+Rabbids: Kingdom Battle.
But statues weren’t enough for the game development giant. This was ChinaJoy 2017 after all. To bring the spotlight to their characters well beyond game and statue form, they also held a special presentation in which people dressed up in Ubisoft cosplay.
Notice, even everyone’s favorite Ezio Auditore da Firenze made a special appearance during the night. The cosplay enthusiast and fan even walked the floor dressed in his Ezio garb, and took several photographs with fellow fans.
Xsolla (New Publishing Program)
Also at the event was Xsolla, the game service provider used by Twitch, Ubisoft, and Crytek. They’ve been at ChinaJoy before, most notably in 2014 when they sought to expand globally and involve the Chinese gaming scene.
This time, they made it possible to schedule meetings to talk about Xsolla services and they pulled out all their stops at the doorway when they decided to feature two billboards announcing their new publishing program, 50/50, which aims to help Chinese developers enter Western markets.
Xsolla 50/50 has been created in an effort to facilitate global sales for developers large and small, with a special emphasis on international developers, such as those in China. They reinvest 50 percent of revenues into distribution and user acquisition, while the other 50 percent goes directly to the game developers. The developers may exit the program whenever they’d like, or even establish a lesser amount of investment.
Online Literature & VR
In China, online literature is huge entertainment, and creates opportunities for pretty much every element of the industry, from TV dramas to video games. This means stories written by Chinese authors often find themselves adapted for visual mediums, as is the case with Eternal Love, a fantasy epic written by online novelist Tang Qi.
The trend has caught on immensely, and is now becoming a prominent part of the Chinese VR scene. Since VR is beginning to slow down, Chinese developers are now creating games that involve plenty of exercise, and whole-body movement, which drew crowds at the event. Whether it’s enough to keep VR alive remains to be seen.
Both NVIDIA and Blizzard featured Overwatch and Counter-Strike booths at the event. Serving as a mecca of onsite competition, it fit in nicely with the competitive e-sports scene in China.
And when we say competitive, we mean all-consuming, far more than Western counterparts. One of the fastest growing sectors in the country, e-sports take place in homes and the countless net cafes, complete with gear, broadcasting platforms, and of course, curious onlookers.
If all of these highlights sound like a series of glamorous and unreachable measures of success in the industry, think again. ChinaJoy is a must-attend for anyone in the industry, indie or AAA. What began in 2003 as a small gaming expo has become a glorious event with thousands of visitors each year.
And this particular year, the highlight was on the industry’s focus on going global. There were panels on persistence, deep localization, and even how new devices and advances in technology have an impact on things like game design and business models. It is everyone’s hope that more Western companies will seek to expand in Asia, especially China.
In the words of Mark Tay, Developer Relations at Razer, “These conventions are key to the growth of the industry in the region as it is one of the few events that the outside world can easily find representatives of every large/medium sized game development/publishing studios to connect with. However, the biggest barrier is not connecting with the right people but having the right mentality in working with the Chinese. Unlike the rest of the world where mutual agreements can be struck quickly, it is very important in China to develop a good relationship over time before proceeding to a more tangible business discussion as establishing trust is key. Being able to discuss and converse in Mandarin is almost a must to able to reap any sort of benefit within this region. Before penetrating the Asian market, Western audience needs to understand the nuances of doing business here and be prepared with plenty of research as the Chinese gamers have very different interests.”
It’s a fantastic place to meet people, establish business partnerships, make new friends, and voice your own projects to the world at large. With over 4,000 games on display this year, it may seem like competition is too stiff to stand out at ChinaJoy, but that’s not the purpose of the event: it’s all about celebrating games and encouraging the business growth side of the process. After all, it can’t all be about the creativity of development!
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