Gateway to China

With new opportunities arising in the East, one company is keen to meet more developers from the West: MHT Game
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The Chinese games market is markedly different to that of any Western nation, or even some of its neighbours.

Until last year, the most notable difference was the console ban, a long-in-place piece of legislation that prevented Nintendo, Xbox and PlayStation selling their products in China. In the face of this unique barrier, other models and forms of gaming have arisen.

One such alternative has been gaming through set-top boxes and other digital devices, with MHT Game positioning itself as one of the leading and fastest growing platforms in the sector. The firm specialises in the digital distribution and publishing of Android-based games via set-top boxes, Smart TVs and other Android-based devices that centre around the television.

Co-founder Edward Qu tells us the firm’s offering is historically geared heavily towards Chinese consumers: “Currently 80 per cent of the games on MHT platform are from Chinese IP. Games available on our platform are mainly family-oriented games with Chinese elements such as local music, language and characters. Collaborative play is also very popular.”

However, MHT Game has managed to bring some Western-developed but globally popular titles to its platform – including PopCap’s Plants Vs Zombies and Vector Unit’s Riptide GP racing series – and it’s keen to expand on this.

“China is two decades behind the West for TV-based games due to the shut out of console games and hardware,” explains European business development manager Gerry Berkley. “Now that the Chinese government has lifted the ban, our objective is to bring the gaming experience back into the China family living room.

“We know that European developers have an excellent track record of creating exciting and innovative products. We are looking for partners who are experienced with family-oriented games and are prepared to fully embrace the opportunity to break into the Chinese market.

“We are offering partners who collaborate with MHT Game a window into a market that can provide them with an additional revenue stream, as we jointly benefit from the market growth.”

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China is the last big market to target. There is a rapidly growing middle class population that can now afford to invest in new gaming platforms.

Gerry Berkley, MHT Game

The company wishes to maintain the family-friendly nature of its games library, seeking titles that are suitable for young children, as well as racers, action games, cartoonish shoot-‘em-ups, sports titles and casual games.

Qu believes the lifting of the console ban marks a new era for his home market, and while a lot of people’s focus will be on the three consoles finally making their way to shelves, the increased attention should benefit firms like MHT.

“It’s good news for everyone involved in video games,” he said. “Our view is that the entry of the major console format holders will boost the awareness of the Chinese video games market opportunity.”

He adds that, while releasing games in the East can be a daunting prospect for Western devs, MHT Game is eager to make the process as accessible as possible.

“We are very keen to work hand-in-hand with our publishing and development partners for language and technical support,” he says. “We can also offer a full localisation service.

“Ultimately we would hope that developers consider a release on our Chinese TV gaming platform when they are developing new IP.”

Berkley stresses that this represents a major opportunity for developers – particularly smaller ones – to establish themselves in a relatively new market. With the mobile and PC marketplaces being so crowded, and consoles still largely dominated by triple-A games, Eastern games platforms offer a fresh alternative.

“China is the last big market to target,” he says. “There is a rapidly growing middle class population that can now afford to invest in new gaming platforms.”

MHT Game is keen to hear from developers interested in bringing their titles to the company’s platforms. To find out more email gerry@mhtgame.com in the UK or edward@mhtgame.com in China.

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