Market Insight

Tencent’s ‘Let’s Hunt Monsters’ looks non-threatening in a Chinese market gearing up for a potential Pokémon influx

May 31, 2019

Louise Shorthouse, Ph.D. Louise Shorthouse, Ph.D. Research Analyst I, Games and Apps

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The China-only blockchain mobile game, which translates as ‘Let’s Hunt Monsters’, has attracted considerable attention – especially as it was the country’s most-downloaded game on iOS for the month of April. The game’s mechanics are very similar to those of Pokémon GO, whereby players explore real-world locations in order to seek out and capture virtual monsters.

However, in terms of Tencent’s wider mobile games catalogue, Let’s Hunt Monsters is not a standout success. According to app performance tracking company Priori Data, the title’s initial 30-day net revenue totalled $11.7m, which was comparatively lower than other recent releases. Red Alert Online generated $12.9m and Samurai Spirits $12.3m across their first month, whilst QQ Dance raked in $16.8m. In fact, the performance of all these games was dwarfed by Perfect World Mobile, which generated almost twice as much revenue as QQ Dance over its first 30 days.

Capitalizing on new blockchain solution

Let’s Hunt Monsters represents Tencent’s first move into blockchain gaming and makes use of the BCOS ‘coinless’ solution that was announced in October last year. Using this platform, players can store and trade monsters on the blockchain, acquiring permanent ownership of them. Users can also exchange digital kittens during gameplay – a CryptoKitties-inspired feature.

The recent collision of blockchain technology and gaming heralds a new industry trend that we are keen to monitor – only a week ago, Fortnite creators Epic Games announced a partnership with blockchain game distribution platform The Abyss. The partnership offers developers on the platform licensing, maintenance and support for Epic’s Unreal Engine 4.

Can Let’s Hunt Monsters compete with Pokémon GO?

As Pokémon GO is currently unavailable in China Let’s Hunt Monsters attempts to address a notable gap in the market. However, its average performance suggests that if Pokémon GO were to eventually launch in China, it would not be threatened, but competition may emerge from within the brand itself.

Numerous upcoming launches are set to boost the Pokémon IP in China. A local version of Pokémon Quest will shortly be released by NetEase, in partnership with The Pokémon Company and Marvel, and will be the first Pokémon mobile game to hit the Chinese market. The Nintendo Switch is also coming to China, and with a slew of existing titles based on the iconic franchise and more in the pipeline, it seems likely that the Chinese appetite for Pokémon will be tested.

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