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This article was published on October 31, 2013


    Messaging apps are not just for chatting: WeChat is disrupting mobile games in China

    Messaging apps are not just for chatting: WeChat is disrupting mobile games in China
    Kaylene Hong
    Story by

    Kaylene Hong

    Kaylene Hong was Asia Reporter for The Next Web between 2013 and 2014, based in Singapore. She is bilingual in English and Mandarin. Stay in Kaylene Hong was Asia Reporter for The Next Web between 2013 and 2014, based in Singapore. She is bilingual in English and Mandarin. Stay in touch via Twitter or Google+.

    Messaging and gaming seem like two entirely different platforms. You would never have thought it possible — but a messaging service is disrupting the mobile gaming scene in China.

    In a report released by Chinese Android app store Wandoujia – which monitors trends in China’s mobile market based on its downloads — two out of the top three games on its app store this month are integrated with popular Chinese messaging service WeChat. It appears that playing games in a social setting helps spread the games faster and keeps people hooked to the games — a major advantage over standalone games.

    One of these games, a Guitar Hero-like scrolling music game called Rhythm Master that requires a WeChat login, has 919,000 monthly downloads.

    Another one, a cutesy racing game called WeRunner, which is developed by Tencent-owned WeChat and present within the chat platform’s game center, has chalked up 522,000 monthly downloads — and what’s impressive is WeRunner’s daily revenue once peaked at more than $1 million.

    Games on the WeChat platform itself are relatively new. In August this year, Tencent finally included a game center in an update to WeChat, as it released its first iOS game called Tian Tian Ai Xiao Chu.

    Despite WeChat stirring up waves across the mobile gaming scene in China, it seems like as long as a game maintains its unique proposition, it will still capture the attention of Chinese players. In this vein, a foreign (standalone) game still takes top spot in October with 2 million monthly downloads — and that’s Plants vs. Zombies 2. The game has been highly popular, raking up 16 million downloads on iOS devices in its opening week.

    Wandoujia has more than 170 million Android users in China currently — and its report this month sheds much light on how mobile game developers in the country have to wise up to the influence that WeChat has on gamers as well.

    Headline image via Bryanlt