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Soccer Manager releases app for Chinese gamers

By Angus McNeice | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-07-12 00:32
The popular British football game is being reworked for the Chinese market. Photo provided to China Daily

Hit British game to be customized for new market

Fans of the Chinese Super League will soon be able to guide their favorite players and teams to the top of the table, following the creation of a Chinese version of the popular British mobile game Soccer Manager.

Preston-based gaming company Soccer Manager and Beijing-based partner Crazy Sports will launch Soccer Manager CSL - the Chinese version of Soccer Manager 2018 - this summer. Last weekend, the two companies released a Chinese version of the game Soccer Manager Arena, called Live Super CSO, in 19 Chinese app stores.

Live Super CSO is a soccer simulation game where users control players in five-a-side matches against other gamers. Users pay for “player packs” to strengthen their squads. Soccer Manager CSL is a management simulation game, where users assume the role of head coach, picking starting lineups for matches and negotiating the sale and purchase of players. Users once again have the option of paying for certain features to strengthen their sides.

Soccer Manager released the first version of the management simulator more than 10 years ago, and the game is now played by around 20 million mobile users worldwide. Soccer Manager chief executive Andrew Gore anticipates that China could soon become the biggest single market for the game.

“I’m not aware if there is another mobile management game like it out there in China, and we think it will do extremely well,” Gore said. “We think it will be very lucrative, it will be our biggest market if it works out. Several hundred thousand have downloaded the arena game already and it hasn’t even been promoted yet. We plan to release the management simulation game in August.”

Soccer Manager and Crazy Sports signed a partnership deal in 2017 which the UK Department for International Trade estimated could generate 55 million pounds ($73 million) over five years.

Gore said his company has never previously used a domestic partner to access a new market, but China’s complicated regulatory environment necessitated the move.

“You can’t really do it properly without a publisher in China,” Gore said. “There are a lot of regulations in order to publish a game there. It takes up to four or five months to register copyright ownership. What draws everyone in is that it’s the world’s largest games market. They pay a lot and it’s a huge opportunity. But on the counter of that, it’s more complex than anywhere else to get your games there.”

Gore said that Crazy Sports took the lead in translating the Chinese version and creating a new interface that would be more attractive to Chinese users. Both Chinese versions will include more “pay to play” options than the British version of the games, as Chinese gamers are more willing to fork out cash for in-game features than Western users, according to Gore.

Crazy Sports is currently collecting user feedback from those who have already downloaded Live Super CSO, and the game will be polished before a marketing campaign is launched. Cover art for the app includes images of several CSL superstars, including Italian striker Graziano Pelle who plays for Shandong Luneng and Shanghai SIPG all-time top scorer Wu Lei.

In recent months, several Chinese gaming companies have sought to link up with British entities in an effort to take their video games global.

British tourism authority VisitBritain is working with Tencent to create a new version of its QQ Speed racing game that could include British characters and music.

Chinese tech company Tencent - which owns the hugely popular game League of Legends - is in talks with the University of Oxford about holding an electronic sports conference and tournament at the university.

In April, Abertay University in Scotland entered into a 10-year strategic partnership with Chinese gaming company Perfect World.

The partnership includes the university overseeing a new graduate level games development course for computer game professionals in China, at a digital arts school in Beijing run by Perfect World.

Also, last year mobile games developer Skymoons opened its first European studio in Edinburgh.

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