By Rachid Zarrouk
As different as each culture across the globe is to one another, each with a set of customs and preferences when dealing with everyday things, so is each gaming culture. When Finnish developer Fingersoft released their popular mobile game, Hill Climb Racing, in China, naming it “China Edition”, they thus also made adjustments to make the game more suitable to the eastern market. As of yet, the China Edition doesn’t have all vehicles and levels as the original version, something that Fingersoft intends to include in upcoming updates. The gameplay and level design however is fairly unchanged.
Seeing how popular the original version of the game is in China already, it does make sense not to change too much of the core concept. “Our goal was to keep the Chinese version of the game as close to the original game as possible, as the game has been very popular for over two years now in western markets. So in addition to bringing local elements in the form of a new graphical look and feel, we did only a minimum set of tuning to the game physics.”, says Jarkko Paalanen, Business Development Director of Fingersoft.
Shifting a concept from one part of the world to another is no easy feat, and figuring out what you can expect to gain from it may be even harder to calculate. Fingersoft explains, however, that even though they could have settled with promoting the western version in China, they would rather take their time to get to know the Chinese market and figure out the best approach. The studio soon found an agreeable partnership with MyGamez, a Finnish and Chinese publishing platform for foreign games in China, and went onwards with the Chinese makeover of their game. “We started out with a plain business development project to gain some experience about how things work over there, rather than just drive the game for more revenue.” Jarkko explains.
Looking for a way to publish an already established game in a foreign market can easily be rather disorienting. Not only in terms of which visual looks to go for, but also in terms of the essence of the game, which must be adjusted just right for the intended users. A formula that Fingersoft has followed is to reach out to multiple publishers and gain intimate knowledge about the preferences and demands of the desired market.
“There are a lot of different channels and publishers in China that adopt western titles to local markets, so it is a good idea to at least go through a few of those and see how the business terms differ between each company, but more importantly, how the daily communication works in practice.” – Jarkko Paalanen
Due to the successful launch of Hill Climb Racing: China Edition, Fingersoft is considering launching other titles in China now that they have established a foothold in the market. The Finnish game studio has even expressed an interest in launching titles in China for other game studios as well, offering their experience and knowledge that can prove to be invaluable. Fingersoft are excited as to what the future will bring, and they are prepared to grow.
“Hopefully the great times that we have had with our current team these last couple of years continue. We look forward to in-house made games and games from our close developer friends that we have worked with already. In addition, of course, we will hopefully find new teams that will work with us in the future. :)” – Concludes Jarkko Paalanen.
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