Strategy game catapults Alibaba’s Aligame into October top 10 on iOS

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Screenshot of Sangokushi Strategy’s page on Apple’s China App Store. (Image Credit: TechNode)

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has advanced significantly in the mobile game market with a Three Kingdom-themed strategy title, helping the company become the fifth highest-grossing Chinese mobile game publisher in October, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower.

Why it matters: Alibaba is known as a giant in e-commerce and cloud services, but the company has been moving into gaming to diversify its revenue.

Details: The title, named “Sangokushi Strategy,” was licensed by Japanese gaming company Koei Tecmo and developed by a fully owned subsidiary of Alibaba. The title was released in China in September.

  • The strategy game grossed a total of $52.1 million on Apple’s China App Store in October.
  • Revenue from Sangokushi Strategy boosted October revenue figures 253% sequentially and 226% year on year to $61 million for Aligames, Alibaba’s gaming unit, across App Store and GooglePlay.
  • The success of the strategy title also helped Alibaba become the fifth highest-grossing mobile game publisher in China in October, up from 17th in September.
  • Spending per game download was $38, lagging by a notable margin the $81.4 per download earned by NetEase’s 4-year-old “All within the Boundaries,” the only other strategy game in the China App Store’s top-10.

Context: Aligames was founded in 2013 and has been experimenting over the years with different game genres. However, despite having titles associated with popular series or characters such as Angry Birds and Sonic the Hedgehog, Aligames has not made a major splash in the video game market, which has been dominated by giants such as Tencent and NetEase for years.

  • Alibaba at one point required game developers to link items in their games to merchandise on Taobao to qualify for a deal with the company, according to a report from 36Kr.