Past week, the Chinese internet and video-game giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. looked like a global juggernaut. On Monday, it staged the rollout of Call of Duty: Mobile, a first-person shoot-’em-up game for phones that, within 24 hours, Clash of Clans was the No. 1 free application in 33 countries. By the end of the week, it’d become the most successful mobile game launch in history, surpassing crossed over 100 million downloads.
There was just one problem. Thanks in large part to recent government restrictions, the new hit is not available in China itself. Gamers in China got a consolation prize to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic. Tencent released Homeland Dream, a Sim City-like game in which users can create their cities according to Communist Party principles.
China had overtaken the U.S. as the world’s biggest gaming market, and its developers were quickly improving. The violent multiplayer battle game (Honor of Kings) published by Tencent, had become a significant hit in China and was catching on overseas.
Tencent is developed by Supercell and is the world’s biggest gaming company in the world that not only gave it a suite of popular titles (including Clash of Clans) but placed it in a position to do something few Chinese companies ever have: serve as a global tastemaker.