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Special report by Yangcheng Evening News | Rastar Games: exploring the best solution for game overseas expansion

Release time:2023-04-20 11:10


On April 19th, the Yangcheng Evening News published a series of special reports under the theme of “High-Quality Development of Cultural Strong Province based on A Hundred People’s Views”, featuring an interview with Mr. Zhong Kunjie, the Vice General Manager of Rastar Games, to discuss the path for game companies to achieve high-quality development.



The following content is the full interview with Rastar Games by the Yangcheng Evening News:

On April 12th, Rastar Group announced on its interactive platform that the company’s gaming business has established a strategy for the application of AI technology and has made progress in advancing it. This Guangdong company, which started with toys, has been working in the gaming field for 13 years.

“We have tried everything, so we can remain restrained and calm.” When talking about the changes and development of the gaming industry, Mr. Zhong Kunjie, Vice General Manager of Rastar Games, appeared to be quite calm and confident in the game industry in Guangdong. Mr. Zhong Kunjie gave an evaluation as “inclusive and tough” for Guangdong gaming companies.

In 2022, the domestic gaming market indicator showed a significant decline and is currently in a stage of accumulating strength under pressure. However, with about one-fifth of the global players and about one-seventh of the market size, China occupies an important position in the global gaming industry landscape. In Mr. Zhong Kunjie’s view, the technological and cultural values of games are becoming increasingly prominent. As a pioneer in “game +” concept, Rastar Games, based on the big IP of “Three Kingdoms”, has also created its own new style of “game + culture”.

“The combination of the novelty of mobile games and the depth of Chinese historical culture is undoubtedly the best partner. The stereo perception and novel feelings presented by the integration of the two elements have infinite charm.” Mr. Zhong Kunjie revealed that this year, Rastar Games will break new ground. In addition to the continuation of the popularity of the “Three Kingdoms” game, they also plan to try Chinese animation.


“High-quality” thinking, the best solution for game overseas expansion



In 2017, 15 days after the launch of Rastar Games’ self-developed ancient-style strategy mobile game Legend of Three Kingdoms-Works of King, the game revenue exceeded 100 million yuan, and the peak daily revenue reached 10 million yuan. In 2023, the Legend of Three Kingdoms series will continue to update, and the brand-new version will be available in the market.

As a huge IP in the strategy type, there are hundreds or even thousands of games based on the “Three Kingdoms” theme. How to differentiate oneself from many similar games? Mr. Zhong Kunjie’s answer is "high quality" and “emphasis on service”.

Mr. Zhong Kunjie introduced that since Rastar Games started its web-based gaming business in 2010, with the rapid development of the industry, the project launched in 2012 was a great success, and Rastar Games also ushered in a wave of rapid expansion. However, the team soon discovered that rapid expansion brought about problems such as rising costs. Because of this experience, Rastar Games is particularly restrained and calm in its business.

"Because we have experienced it, we know that a pig in the wind can fly high, but mostly not for long.” Mr. Zhong Kunjie told reporters, “High-quality thinking may be challenging in the short term, but from a long-term perspective, it is definitely a healthier development status." It is also relying on high-quality thinking that Rastar Games has been relatively smooth in game overseas expansion.

After Legend of Three Kingdoms-Works of King was launched in China, it was also simultaneously launched in Japan and South Korea. Compared with similar products, the higher-quality Legend of Three Kingdoms-Works of King was more favored by cooperators and achieved a historic high record in war strategy games in South Korea.

Of course, the process was not always smooth. Mr. Zhong Kunjie admitted that solving the problem of “localization” for Chinese gaming companies going abroad is a major challenge. “In addition to content understanding, system localization is equally important. Japan and South Korea are highly regulated in terms of game-related regulations, thus we often find it difficult to adapt after our games go abroad. How to adapt to local rules is a lesson." However, Mr. Zhong Kunjie also stated that the cultural dissemination situation laid down by China’s millennia-old history and culture is also a natural advantage for gaming companies going overseas.

With continuous cultivation of content, the service cannot be neglected. Mr. Zhong Kunjie said that Chinese game companies, especially Guangdong game companies, can provide feedback on user suggestions and needs within one or two weeks and reflect them in games. This kind of interaction is difficult to experience by game companies in other countries. “Our company communicates with other enterprises every day, and promptly thinks about product improvements and adjustments, and that’s the reason why we can ensure the leading position of Guangdong’s gaming industry in the world." Mr. Zhong Kunjie said.


“Game +” is the best carrier for cultural transmission

“Game +” is the inherent gene of Rastar Games. With a business model based on the three pillars of games, toys, and sports, Rastar’s “Game +” is progressing smoothly.

In November 2019, well-known football player Wu Lei became the spokesperson for Legend of Three Kingdoms-Works of King, combining and promoting football Cuju culture with innovative gameplay in mobile games. In Mr. Zhong Kunjie’s view, the game is a cultural segment. How to present and transmit traditional culture in games with vivid and strong immersive styles is the current mainstream task for game companies.

“Games are means, and the cultural core is the carrier. To endow a game with long-lasting vitality, a cultural core with a cultural foundation is indispensable.” Mr. Zhong Kunjie told reporters that the enhancement of the level and aesthetics of the game by the excellent traditional Chinese culture is very appealing to the users. Through the means of games, users can also indirectly receive the dissemination of culture without realizing it.

Mr. Zhong Kunjie made an analogy: the cultural output in games is like offering free samples in stores, not forcibly putting dishes in front of others and demanding payment, but letting everyone taste it and order if they find it delicious.

From 2019 to 2022, Rastar Games was continuously selected as a “National Key Cultural Export Enterprise” jointly recognized by the Ministry of Commerce, the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, the Department of the Treasury, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and the National Radio and Television Administration. In January of this year, Rastar’s Legend of Three Kingdoms-Works of King cooperated with Mr. Chen Peichen, the representative inheritor of the first batch of national intangible cultural heritage items, Chaozhou wood carving. The game integrates the thousand-year-old wood carving culture to share its unique cultural charm with players.

As a northerner, Mr. Zhong Kunjie expressed a deep fascination with Guangdong culture upon his arrival in Guangdong. “In addition to the long-standing Lingnan culture that has become famous over the years, Guangdong culture encompasses various subcultures such as Leizhou culture and Chaozhou culture. This reflects the diversity and inclusiveness of Guangdong culture,” said Mr. Zhong Kunjie. He noted that feedback from domestic and international user groups indicates that the spirit of innovation and pioneering in tradition has made Guangdong’s culture and gaming industry a perfect match.


Each fulfilling its duties is the key to promoting quality development

As a key element of high-quality development, the total scale of Guangdong’s cultural industry has ranked first in the country for 18 consecutive years. Mr. Zhong Kunjie, who is at the forefront of the Guangdong gaming industry, stated that a robust industrial foundation and powerful local gaming enterprises are advantages for the development of Guangdong’s gaming industry, while vigorous government support provides confidence for Guangdong Province to promote high-quality development of the gaming industry.

In 2022, the domestic gaming market indicator showed a significant decline and is currently in a stage of accumulating strength under pressure. Last year, Guangdong Province’s gaming revenue was estimated to reach 211.57 billion yuan, with a decline in growth rate of 8.9% year-on-year, turning from positive to negative for the first time since 2015. However, Mr. Zhong Kunjie believes that being in the relatively depressed market, the Guangdong gaming industry has demonstrated greater “toughness”. “From the data perspective, although the market size in Guangdong Province has declined, the decrease is smaller than the overall domestic market. Whether in terms of gaming revenue scale or the size of gaming enterprises, Guangdong still holds a leading position in the country,” he said.

Mr. Zhong Kunjie believes that how gaming enterprises, industry associations, and government departments fulfill their respective duties is a key step in achieving high-quality development. “Currently, the association firmly stands in the position of bridge and communication, and the government has already provided a platform for enterprises. Thus, whether the enterprises can perform well is the biggest test,” he said. Enterprises need to ponder more about how to polish products and present excellent cultural content to global users in an attractive and interactive manner."



Report by Yangcheng Evening News multimedia reporter Hang Ying

Video by Yangcheng Evening News multimedia reporter Li Zhiwen