China’s Tencent partners with Glu Mobile to bring popular WeFire mobile shooter game to international markets

China’s gaming giant is using its WeChat mobile messaging service to deliver more titles after inking another deal with Animoca in September on Armies of Dragons

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 November, 2015, 12:40pm
UPDATED : Friday, 06 November, 2015, 12:57pm

Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings is bringing its domestic chart-topping mobile game WeFire to markets around the world through a new partnership with US-based game developer Glu Mobile.

WeFire, Tencent’s first smartphone shooter game released through its WeChat social mobile messaging platform, was the No 1 game in this genre in China from January to October, according to digital business intelligence firm App Annie.

“Our collaboration will bring China’s chart-topping and top-grossing shooter WeFire to North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Australia and New Zealand in 2016,” Niccolo de Masi, the chairman and chief executive at Nasdaq-listed Glu, announced in San Francisco on Thursday.

The move comes after Tencent announced in September that it would distribute Hong Kong games developer Animoca Brands’ popular Armies of Dragons mobile game via WeChat in Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

Glu, a leading global developer and publisher of free-to-play games for smartphones and tablets, recently forecast its total revenue this year to be between US$234.3 million and US$236.3 million.

“Glu is a genre leader in mobile shooters in the West,” de Masi said.

“The partnership with Tencent forms part of Glu’s ongoing vision to deliver unmissable entertainment anywhere” he added.

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The branded games that Glu distributes are available on Apple’s App Store, Google Play, Amazon Appstore, Facebook, Mac App Store and Windows Phone.

According to Tencent, WeFire features dynamic 3D graphics, simple gameplay and a rich array of weaponry.

Steven Ma Xiaoyi, a senior vice-president at Tencent and head of its Interactive Entertainment Group, said the partnership with Glu was expected to make the tile as popular in international markets as it has been in China.

With a large community of gaming customers in China and across Asia, Hong Kong-listed Tencent is widely acknowledged as the world’s leading online games publisher.

Research firm Newzoo said Tencent continues to lead its ranking of the top-25 gaming companies by revenue.

It estimated that Tencent recorded a 23 per cent increase in game revenue to US$4.24 billion in the first half of this year, up from US$3.46 billion in the same period last year.

Second-ranked Microsoft, by comparison, had total first-half game revenue of US$2.68 billion, up 4 per cent from US$2.58 billion a year ago.

CCB International analyst Ronnie Ho said in a report that Tencent was “well-positioned to capture much of China’s booming mobile games market”, despite intense domestic competition.

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Ho added that Tencent, which is headquartered in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, has been helped by distributing popular games through its mobile platforms Mobile QQ and WeChat. The latter is known as Weixin on the mainland. The company reported it had about 600 monthly active users on WeChat as of June 30.

Total revenue this year for Tencent is predicted to reach 96.76 billion yuan (US$15.22 billion), according to CCB International.

Chinese internet consultancy iResearch has forecast the number of active mobile gamers in China to reach 390 million at the end of this year.

Data from the country’s Games Publishers Association showed there were 358 million mobile gamers at the end of December.