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Why ignoring China is bad for mobile games development

Mobile development is beginning to adopt the philosophy of console development with the inclusion of higher-end graphics and storytelling, says Kent Wakeford of free-to-play publisher Kabam during his speech at DICE Europe 2014. However, as mobile gaming evolves technologically, developers need to begin thinking about expanding globally.

China is the fastest-growing market in the world with the largest mobile audience, says Wakeford. But the West continues to fail in breaking the Eastern market, with only 16 percent of all mobile games available in China coming from North America and Europe, he adds.

As of 2013, China was home to over 358 million mobile game players. Comparatively, 131 million mobile gamers come from the U.S. and there are 50 million in Japan. Likewise, the mobile games market is poised to be a $30 billion market in China alone.

As such, mobile game developers need to begin seeking out solutions for the technical and cultural issues that make it difficult to break into the Chinese market, says Wakeford. Developers without servers in China will experience latency issues, he notes. Similarly, he says, solutions need to be found in order to create brand awareness as the Android market is notoriously fragmented with over 200 app stores available to choose from.

Last year, Kaba laid off a number of employees before hiring 200 more employees as part of a realignment into mobile development.

The company later announced that it would bring its game catalog to streaming site Twitch on browsers and mobile devices, allowing Twitch users to play Kabam's own games and third-party Kabam-published titles. Some of the company's notable games include browser-based tactical combat game The Hobbit: Armies of the Third AgeThe Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth and iOS movie tie-in Fast & Furious 6: The Game.

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