ByteDance, the company behind TikTok, has received its first game license, which will pave the way for the publication of ByteDances’ first self-developed casual mobile game called Warrior Girl Parkour.
In China, games have to be approved first by the Chinese State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television (SAPRFT) before being released to the public. In March, 51 games including Warrior Girl Parkour have gained licenses as part of the fifth and latest batch of games of approved games by the authorities.
In total, 256 games have been authorized in 2020 so far, including titles from Tencent, NetEase, Sanqi Huyu, Alibaba, and Bilibili.
BiteDance’s upcoming release is a three-dimensional parkour mobile game in which characters can run, jump, slide, and ride walls.
Bejing-based startup ByteDance has been stepping up efforts to gain a presence in the lucrative gaming market, seeking to diversify its sources of revenue beyond advertising, KrASIA reported.
Underpinned by its huge user base on short-video app TikTok and its domestic version Douyin, as well as other apps, ByteDance has already successfully published a string of popular hyper-casual games in the past year, testing the water in a gaming market which has been long dominated by Tencent. Because these games were co-published by developers and studios with licenses, ByteDance did not need its own license.
Earlier in February, ByteDance appointed Yan Shou, its former head of strategic investment and former strategy manager at Tencent, to exclusively lead ByteDance’s gaming business.
Previously, the company was reportedly on an aggressive hire spree, in which more than 1,000 employees were recruited with many poached from other big-name game companies including Tencent and NetEase.
Amid the COVID-2019 outbreak, which coincided with Chinese New Year, China’s gaming industry has received a boost in demand while other tech industries were hit. The market scale of the mobile game industry during the seven-day holiday grew by 32.9% year-over-year to RMB 4.8 billion (USD 690 million) in February, according to research institute Gamma Data.
The servers of Honor of Kings, one of Tencent’s most iconic titles, encountered several crashes in February due to the surge in gamers. Card game Xiaomei Doudizhu, and puzzle game Naodong Dashi, both published by ByteDance in partnership with other game developers, have gained popularity and entered the top 10 most-downloaded casual game chart on the iOS app store.