Since we at Mobile Game Hive are interested in the global mobile games industry, we decided to look into an emerging mobile game market, as opposed to the more booming markets like Japan and Korea.
We caught up with VTC Mobile, a mobile game publishing company hailing from Vietnam, and asked them about the emerging mobile gaming market in the country: the top mobile game genre in the country, the one thing game developers should do, and the one thing they shouldn’t do when releasing a game in Vietnam.
A QUICK LOOK AT MOBILE GAMING IN VIETNAM
Mobile Game Hive: What is the situation of mobile gaming in Vietnam? Why do you think it will be a good idea for international game devs to publish a game in Vietnam?
Sam Nguyen, Business Developer, VTC Mobile:[The] Vietnam mobile gaming market is an emerging one with a lot of potential, it hasn’t reached its thriving stage yet. I can mention some data showing the growth of this market: Vietnam’s population is more than 93.4 million. The number of mobile phone subscribers in Vietnam is 120 million while the number of smartphones being used is around 50 million. The number of mobile gamers in Vietnam is between 20 and 23 million. Vietnam ranks third in the world for the number of first-time smartphone users. It’s estimated that there will be 17.22 million smartphones sold in Vietnam in 2014 and 82% of those are first-time smartphone users.
Now’s the perfect timing for international game developers to publish their games here. Not too soon yet not too late for them and their games to have a position in this market.
MGH: What kind of games do you usually look for to publish? Is it relative to the popular genre in Vietnam right now?
Sam: We have been looking for many types of games: RPG (MMORPG, ARPG, etc.), SLG, SNG, FPS, Racing, etc. The most popular genre in Vietnam is casual games; however, the most profitable genre here is RPG.
MGH: Who plays mobile games the most in Vietnam?
Sam: The age range for the most active mobile gamers in Vietnam is from 15 to 35. There are more male gamers than female gamers.
ON MEETING DEVELOPERS
MGH: Where do you usual meet developers?
Sam: We usually meet overseas developers in international game shows or game related events. Many developers also contact us online via email or business networks like Linkedin.com. Some of them directly visit our office for face-to-face meetings.
PUBLISHING A MOBILE GAME: BEFORE AND AFTER
MGH: In Vietnam, what are the steps you take before publishing a game? What are the steps you take after publishing a game?
Sam: Firstly, we need to evaluate the game to see if it fits [the] Vietnamese market. This work will be done by our R&D team with a detailed introduction of the game and a test build (APK file or IPA file). If the game is evaluated as good, we will discuss with its developer about License Fee/ Minimum Guarantee and Revenue share. After signing the contract, we will send the developer a list of adjustments to localize the game for Vietnamese market. When the game is fully localized, we will proceed with Alpha test, Closed Beta and finally, official launching.
During the time we operate the game in Vietnam, the developer needs to technically support us in fixing bugs, developing in-game events, creating more items, etc. In general, we are in charge of commercializing and doing marketing for the game while the developer is in charge of technical support.
MGH: How do you coordinate with these developers whose games you’ve decided to take on?
Sam: We work closely with developers during operating the game, especially during Alpha test and Closed Beta. We play a role as a middle man between our gamers and the game developers. All player feedback are gathered, evaluated and categorized before sending to the developers to deal with. The process is done at the highest speed in order to satisfy our gamers as soon as possible.
MGH: How do you evaluate if a game can be published?
Sam: For RPG and SLG, we prefer Chinese games because our gamers are already familiar with Chinese ancient stories like “Three Kingdoms”, “Journey to the West” and “JinYong’s martial novel”. For other genres, the themes are more open so we have a lot of choices from other countries like Korea or the West.
MOBILE GAME STRATEGIES IN VIETNAM
MGH: What game publishing strategies are effective for Vietnam? (Ex: marketing, monetization,
Sam: Marketing for mobile games in Vietnam has been effectively done with the help of social networks like Facebook. Online marketing with viral strategies play an important role in promoting games here. However, the most effective marketing method in Vietnam is game-cross-game. This method requires the publisher to have a large gamer community which is built by their old and current games. That’s why big publishers like VTC Mobile have a great advantage in promoting games in Vietnam.
In Vietnam, the biggest game stores are Google Play and AppStore. Beside those stores, we also publish games on local game stores to cover the largest customer base.
MGH: How can you help a game become successful in Vietnam?
A good marketing strategy will help a game become successful in Vietnam. As I mentioned above, online marketing and game-cross-game are good methods. Besides, we also hold in-game and offline events and other activities to enhance our gamer community.
IMPACT OF IN-GAME EVENTS
MGH: What kinds of positive results have you gotten from such in-game events?
Sam: A mobile game usually has short life-circle. In-game events make the game more interesting and keep users stay with the game longer. We hold in-game events very frequently for our games. They not only make the game more interesting but also enhance the interactivity among gamers as well as between gamers and the publisher. In improves the game revenue since the events offer many interesting money-making activities and some of them require an entrance fee to attend.
ULTIMATE DO AND DON’T FOR DEVELOPERS IN VIETNAM
MGH: What’s the most important tip you can give developers who want to release a game in Vietnam?
Sam: For an overseas developer, finding a good local publisher to make a partnership is the most important tip. A big and experienced local publisher knows their market well and already has an active gamer community to make sure the success of a new mobile game.
MGH: What about the one thing game devs should not do when releasing a game in Vietnam?
Sam: The most important thing that game developers should avoid when releasing a game in Vietnam is sensitive political and cultural issues. The Vietnamese government is not very strict on games. However, if the game contains sensitive issues such as sex or territorial dispute, the game will be forced to close. Therefore, before publishing a game, we always have to make sure it’s a “clean” version.
VTC Mobile is a member of Vietnam Multimedia Corporation (VTC). They have more than 8 years of experience in providing Mobile Value Added Services. VTC Mobile is also well-known for International Payment Solutions for Mobile Games and Applications, Interactive Television Games and especially, Mobile Games. As for Online Mobile Games, they are the publisher of games proudly lead the gross revenue ranking in Vietnam.
From 2006, their growth rate is up to 170% annually. Their market share is 25% with 25 million subscribers.
One of their most popular games to date is Audition Mobile, a casual/social/dancing game that has been published in China, Korea, Taiwan, and Indonesia. It has over 3 million registered users, particularly in Vietnam.
Sam Nguyen is a Business Developer for VTC Mobile.
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