While we don’t cover a ton of industry news like this on TouchArcade, when it involves China I always think it’s fascinating as it’s really difficult to even wrap your head around the sheer scale of things over there. Here’s the gist: Ketchapp catapulted into popularity with the release of 2048 (Free) and since then has been rapid-fire releasing mini games on to the App Store that all seem to get glued at #1 top free for at least a moderate amount of time. (For instance, right now Finger Driver (Free) holds the top spot.) Meanwhile, Tencent is the biggest investment corporation in the world and has their finger in practically every pie imaginable, particularly in the mobile sector, as their chat app WeChat (Free) has just under one billion monthly active users. In the mix with WeChat is Weixin, which is sort of the same app with slight differences which largely seem to have to do with segregating things inside and outside of China.
Anyway, Weixin is the most popular mobile app in China to an extent that’s truly unbelievable. It’s not at all hyperbole to say that everyone with a phone capable of having Weixin has it installed and uses it on the regular. They recently added a game platform to Weixin that they’re calling “Weixin mini-game" which works pretty similar to the Facebook’s Instant Games. You play them without ever leaving the app, or downloading additional applications. Everything exists inside of Weixin, which removes almost all barriers of entry to people playing these games.
Ketchapp is one of the first partners added to the Weixin mini-game platform, and soon those 980 million monthly active users will have access to all sorts of Ketchapp games right inside of the same chat app that everyone is glued to. It’s hard to really think of anything that compares in Western markets, as I’d say that Facebook’s platform is probably the closest thing we have to WeChat, but it seems like the traction that Facebook gets with all the additional stuff they keep adding to Facebook Messenger . Comparatively, folks seem to go wild for these WeChat additions, making this an absolutely massive slam dunk for Ketchapp and its parent company Ubisoft.
What does this mean for mobile gamers in the west? Probably not much, but it’s wild how different all these markets can be even though we’re all on the exact same platform.