Hao Su Wang, from iQiyi: “You have to adapt games if you want them to succeed in China.”

August 28, 2018

When Hao Su Wang was finishing his Master’s in Marketing & Strategy of Packaging in 2008, he surely didn’t imagine that 10 years later he would be an expert in game publishing and production. 

It all started by chance while he was looking for an internship in order to complete his Master’s. “I threw my CVs around in France and a small game company in Marseille accepted my CV and gave me an offer. And there I started my gaming career”, says Wang.

Since then, not only has he worked for Tencent, he has also become Vice-president and President of games at iQiyi. A dream come true for someone who considers himself a ‘serious gamer’ since childhood: “I never thought that gaming would be my career. I just thought that gaming would be one of my close friends. Games can relax me, can give me space to imagine something I can’t really touch, or maybe never imagined in my whole life.”

F2P Campus (F): Why choose Free-to-Play as a business model?

Hao Su Wang (H): There’s a problem in the Chinese market that people don’t have the habit of paying for downloads. That’s why, if you want to really make some revenue, you need to choose the free-to-play model, and to give value to the items and lead users to pay. 

In my opinion, regarding the game design, it’s more reasonable for us to choose free-to-play because we have more space, and we have more opportunity to introduce items to the users; whether they’re going to buy them or not is up to them. But still we give them the opportunity to become stronger and add more abilities to their virtual characters.

Hao Su Wang publishing games on chinaF: What are the differences between Asia and Europe when selling games?

H: It’s quite different, because European kids play games from a very young age; in China when you’re young it’s all about studying, and you don’t have much chance to play games. Still, they love to play games when they have the time.

The culture is also quite different: in Europe it’s all about castles, knights, dragons, princesses, this kind of style that’s European history. But in China, it’s more about Chinese history.

If you compare what kind of games Europeans like, they prefer SLG games, strategy games; in China, because people love ancient stories and mythology, they prefer to play MMORPG games. And in China social media isn’t as strong as in Europe. People make friends inside the game.

F: Besides the translation, do you think that European developers have to make any other adaptations to their game in order to have success in China?

H: Yes, there’d be a lot of changes. We are talking about localization, so the monetization is quite different from Europe to China. You need to be very professional and ought to be well-informed about Chinese users, how they play, what they like, so you can get them to pay.

Regarding the game content, whether it’s the graphic design or the system design, it should be very Chinese-style, otherwise Chinese users won’t understand it, and if they don’t understand it they won’t be willing to play it.

The third thing is very crucial: in Europe people play one game and play it for a very long time, but in China, there are so many games published per day that people can download a game and if they don’t like it immediately they’ll leave it and play another one. There’s plenty of choice; it’s a very competitive market.

Hao Su Wang publishing games on chinaF: What do you think about Epic’s choice not to distribute Fortnite in the Play Store on Android? Do you think this is going to be a trend in the mobile games industry?

H: That’s a tricky question, I don’t know. If I were the head of Epic, I could generate real quality players from the App Store and after that I’d adjust the game data inside my game and make it more complete, and then I’d release it on Google Play.

F: What advice would you give to someone who is taking their first steps in the industry?

H: Never stop your imagination but be realistic. That’s important because we are not doing charity work and a game company needs to live, with income and revenue. If you start your own business you should look at other reference games you like, or want to make in the future; get into the game and understand it completely, and then you can start your own project by giving your creation insight. 

If you’re working for a game company, a big company, you should learn the rules, the process, the structure of this company; once you understand it, and know the mechanics of it, you can start your own one.

Be patient; you can’t get rich just through one game. it’s very rare. It’s the same path for everyone: you need to fail several times to learn the nature of making games, and then maybe your next game will be successful.

Hao Su Wang publishing games on chinaMany thanks to Hao Su Wang for coming to Vitoria-Gasteiz to answer our questions and advise the F2P Campus teams.

Until next time!