Tencent Holdings Ltd., is one of China’s biggest gaming companies and they’ve just announced their plans to compete globally with the international release of their WeGames online store platform. According to the South China Morning Post, Tencent’s plan is to help build a world-wide audience for Chinese games. A spokesman for Tencent had this to say about the new development:
“The Hong Kong version of WeGame is now under development. This version will be available for overseas users, and we will use this platform to bring more Chinese games to the global market.”
The fact that it’s a Hong Kong listed company allows it to bypass China’s strict content policies. This gives Tencent the ability to provide a broader range of gaming content on WeGames that might have been possible had they been based in their mother country. Tencent is now poised to be a direct competitor for not only Steam China, but for Steam’s global market.
Despite the fact that a Chinese version of Steam has yet to be released, the platform has already carved itself a strong foothold into the Chinese market as more than 25% of Steam users have set their language preferences to simplified Chinese. This makes it the client’s second most chosen language with a significant gap between it and its nearest competitor. Here’s a quick look at the statistics provided by Valve’s June 2018 update.
WeGames has a long way to go to compete with Steam, particularly because of the massive difference in titles currently available. The South China Seas reports that WeGames currently has about 200 games available for download. This is in stark contrast to Steam’s 20+ thousand titles.
Regardless of the competition with Steam, it will be very interesting to see if they are able to accomplish one of the primary aims with this move – bringing Chinese games to a western audience. Will the localization be done right? Will Western gamers be able to appreciate these games? Can Chinese games actually compete with western companies as well as other companies in Asia that have more experience releasing content internationally?
This is definitely something worth paying attention to as if Tencent manages to be successful in their ambitions, there will be huge ramifications in the gaming industry.