Locojoy's Decision to Only Develop iOS Games is Contributing to Its Success in China
Locojoy started out small in May 2011. The Chinese game developer, located in Beijing, only had a rather small group of game developers and programmers, but they were very experienced in their fields. Each member had at least six years of experience in the game development or programming industry. From its humble beginnings, it has now expanded its operations and is now considered as one of the top game developers in China.
Humble Beginnings for Locojoy
During its first year of operations in 2011, the company launched a new title every two months. In a span of a year, Locojoy released six games. The first games were Dog and Cat, Speed Birds, Cow, Write Something and Gold Miner OL, but they were not really successful. Among the six, none of them actually exceeded $100,000 in annual revenues. In fact, their first games only made around $150,000 – and that is already their combined revenue. Co-founder and current CEO Shanhu Xing, in response to the seemingly losing company, thought of closing down Locojoy. But eventually they would spring back into the game.
During the second half of 2012, the company moved on to focus on developing card games. They focused on developing just card games because these games can be played just about anytime and anywhere, such as during train or bus rides. The company considered the fact the mobile games are actually with the consumer almost of the time, as opposed to console games.
Locojoy Hits It Big With I AM MT
Everything changed when Locojoy developed I AM MT. Since then, it has been one of the top grossing games in the Chinese Apple App Store from the start of 2013.
Dungeons and Dragons and Might and Magic inspired I AM MT. This made the game appealing to a lot of people, including young professionals. It acted as a nostalgic way to attract players, because these games were the ones that were popular when they were younger.
The company wanted to have a rather complex game that would make players think while defeating enemies and other players. In addition, they wanted a wide array of cards to combat repetitiveness of using the same cards for every dungeon.
Why Locojoy Prefers Developing Games for iOS
In China, it is said that there are about 30 or more app stores for Android. There are small app stores and large app stores. Publishing games in each and every store proves to be more difficult, since each store has its own SDK that needs to be embedded in the games before they may be distributed. So imagine 30 app stores with 30 different SDKs. The load of work for this small company could easily increase just by offering their games in Android app stores.
By focusing mainly on the iOS operating system, Locojoy was able to test the waters with new games. Based on the reception and the feedback from iOS players, they could then make a decision as to whether or not they would be port the to Android or to other mobile platforms in the future.
Despite being heavily influenced by the Chinese market, Locojoy still penetrates the international market. However, their main expertise and focus is with China, so their efforts being done internationally are not as effective and successful as their local counterparts.
CEO Shanhu Xing Brings Experience to Locojoy
Braving the mobile game market in China is a big move, but Shanhu Xing, Locojoy’s current CEO proved that it can still be done. Xing is considered as one of the pioneers of China’s online gaming industry, as well as one of the experts in game development. He has been in the game industry since 2002, when he co-founded Beijing Huanle Shidai Technology. He then joined 70yx.com in 2008, and moved on to Locojoy, where he focused mainly on mobile games. With Xing’s extensive experience with the gaming industry, coupled with a good development team, it isn’t really surprising that Locojoy is now considered to be one of China’s top mobile game development companies.
Chinese Game Developers Need to Innovate
The whole world knows that China loves to imitate a lot of things. Thus, perhaps the main challenge for developers to actually be innovative when it comes to making, designing and programming their games. As compared to European and North American companies, Chinese companies are being left out because they need to be more creative. This should go into the game details, gameplay, game design, and many other aspects.
Another challenge would be the technological differences. Chinese companies have certain disadvantages due to geography and language. New technologies are in English most of the time, and there’s a huge language barrier, often times, with Chinese companies because of this. Therefore, it makes the learning process of these new technologies somewhat hard to grasp for some Chinese developers.
What Makes Android Game Development Different From iOS?
Android uses Java as its primary development kit. This decreases the threshold of developers who want to make apps for Android. It’s a different situation for the iOS. The iOS SDK was similar to Cocoa on the Mac. Therefore, developers who make apps for iOS generally have to be very good in Cocoa Touch, whereas any Java developer or programmer can make apps for the Android. iOS, like the Mac, attracted talented developers who specialize entirely in Apple products. Java developers, most of the time, are not really specialized exclusively for Android devices or apps, since it can be cross-platform as well.
This is probably one reason as to why Locojoy chose to specialize in iOS mobile games, because it allows them to hone their development skills exclusively before they move on to other platforms. In addition, they also consider the passion for making quality games exclusively for one platform. Therefore, it makes the company focused and determined as to its goals and where exactly it wants to be in the Chinese mobile game industry. So far, it has been a good strategy for Locojoy.