San Francisco has GDC. China has TGDC, an annual conference hosted by telecommunications giant Tencent.
More specifically, TGDC is run by the Tencent Institute of Games, which dedicates itself to furthering the cause of China’s games industry. It sees developers and other industry figures meeting up once a year in China to share ideas and collaborate on creative and commercial enterprises.
This year’s TGDC took place on September 24th, and it generated a lot of talking points.
One of these was the condition of the Chinese games industry, which is currently very rosy. 554 million people are downloading and playing games this year, which is an increase of 5.1% on 2008.
And they’re spending more money. Revenue has grown 10.% to $16.3 billion – a very healthy proportion of the global game market’s turnover of $152.1 billion – also up on last year. High fives all round, then.
China’s marketing policy was discussed at the conference, and also the global prospects for the country’s IPs. With the games business growing ever larger, business are being forced to consider their strategies for scaling up and expanding into new markets.
In short, developers are going to have to invest in great IPs and create content peculiar to China and its history and culture. There’s a general recognition in China that games are the “ninth art”, and developers must rise to that mantle.
But there’s some tough competition out there, with studios like Ubisoft raising the bar for everyone with high production values and first rate design. Chinese studios must respond with superlative AAA titles that can shine in the global marketplace.
Of course, 5G was a massive topic, given its implications for online gaming. This lightning-fast communication network will present Chinese developers with huge opportunities, but huge challenges too.
Traffic costs are expected to plummet once the network is fully rolled out, which will no doubt have the effect of bringing many new gamers online to enjoy a spot of interactive videogaming fun. How will the current crop of games cater to its expanded player base? Time will tell.
Back to school
Tencent is certainly taking the future seriously, creating cooperative relationships with 19 global universitie. Among these is the most highly regarded higher education establishment in the world: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The partnerships that Tencent has set in motion will create an interface for developers and computer scientists from around the world to pool their resources and take the videogame medium forward.
TGDC also featured some fascinating talks, including a presentation by League of Legends IP development head Thomas Vu, who outlined the company’s long term strategy.
League of Legends is ten years old now, but this outstanding MOBA has survived and thrived thanks to a constant process of refinement and expansion. The game has become a universe, with a fan-centred approach ensuring that it resonates with its target market.
According to Thomas Vu, “Only in the hearts of fans to heroes and stories survive.” Well said.
You’ll have to wait another year or so till the next TGDC rolls around, but in the meantime you can read up on the event on the official Tencent Institute of Games site.