China’s video-sharing platform Bilibili on Wednesday launched 16 new games, each with anime-inspired graphics specifically aimed at young gamers, at a turbulent time when government officials are tightening control over the video game industry by line.
Bilibili’s virtual launch event was broadcast live on its website and featured immersive new games, story-based otome games that cater to young women, and games that feature elements of traditional culture. Chinese, all of which are increasingly popular among Chinese Gen Z players.
Bilibili is listed in New York and Hong Kong. It is considered the Chinese equivalent of YouTube and has one of the most active online video user bases with a target demographic that favors young people, with 20 as the average age of its new users. Bilibili had 223 million monthly active users in the first quarter of 2021, according to the company’s financial results.
Although known for its animation, comics, and creator-uploaded game content, the platform has been investing in games for years. Last year, Bilibili beat Tencent and NetEase to acquire the Chinese publishing rights of Fall guys: ultimate knockout, a world-popular battle royale game. Its own esports division raised $ 28 million in January. Then, in April, Bilibili made headlines by using 1,500 drones to form a glowing QR code in the Shanghai night sky. Code scanning brought users to the Japanese role-playing game landing page Princess Connect! Re: to dive, which is distributed by the company in China.
As with Tencent, video games are an important source of income for Bilibili. Its revenue from mobile games was 1.17 billion RMB ($ 178.7 million) in the first quarter of 2021, or about 30% of the company’s total revenue during that period.
Bilibili’s new games are coming out at a tense time for game developers as the Chinese government could create even stricter rules for the industry, especially regarding how minors can access games online. State media People’s Daily published an article on Wednesday that said a recently amended law says online gaming companies cannot provide services to minors between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. the next day.
Bilibili has pledged to upgrade its anti-addiction system and put in place tighter restrictions on screen time for minors.
Even before the latest adjustments, Chinese authorities fashioned a stricter regulatory environment for video games compared to any other country. Right now, investors are concerned that regulators are poised to seriously disrupt the industry, as has happened with for-profit education providers, according to the report. Wall STree log.
The market is still afraid of these developments. The stock prices of major online gaming companies are still stumbling. Bilibili, Tencent and NetEase have each seen their shares dip as much as 12% since Monday.
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