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How Kabam self-published its Marvel mobile game in China — and hit No. 1

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Emmett Noble
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1 hit in the Chinese iOS mobile game market, but it accomplished it by self-publishing the title.Kabam s free-to-play Marvel: Contest of Champions has generated well over $100 million in the West to date, and the company was eager to take it to China.

How that happened is an instructive lesson for Western game companies who want to succeed in China, which has the largest mobile game market in the world with $7.1 billion in revenue.Kent Wakeford, the chief operating officer of Kabam, said in an exclusive interview with GamesBeat that the company initially partnered with Longtu to make the game.

But Kabam saw that the opportunity on Apple devices, where file sizes could be larger, could enable a big game and a big investment.In China, it s OK to create pay to win free-to-play games, where players who spend a lot of money can gain VIP advantages over those who don t. We had to redesign the game so that it catered to the VIPs, Wakeford said.

There s a feature dubbed auto-fight, where you could skip the fight and then move on to the loot grinding and the meta game.

We sensed a different perspective working with a different third-party.

We have the marketing infrastructure set up, the customer support system, and we have now tested the devices and operating systems and worked through all of the quality assurance and certification issues in China.

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Emmett Noble
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