The Chinese version of EA Playfish’s The Sims Social launches its open beta today on Tencent’s QZone platform. EA originally announced it was working on the game in February.
The game, which will be called Mo Ni Shi Guang (“Simulation Time”), features redesigned graphics, furniture, clothing and skills in order to suit Chinese aesthetics, but uses of many of the same social elements The Sims Social uses on Facebook. It will also include the recent expansion allowing players to pursue careers.
Electronic Arts confirmed that the open beta will save players’ in-game information so their progress won’t be interrupted when the game officially launches, but the company did not reveal when it plans to take the game out of beta.
With Facebook banned and other Chinese social networks struggling to compete — last year Renren reported it had just 31 million monthly active users out of 160 million registered users — the 700 million user strong Tencent seems to be emerging as the defacto platform for social game developers looking to break into the Chinese market.
6waves CEO Rex Ng recently told us his company was working with Tencent to bring several social titles to Chinese audiences, including Ravenwood Fair and two other unannounced titles. 6waves’ SVP of Publishing Jim Ying also noted that Tencent is so big that there’s a constant demand for new content. More importantly, Tencent also seems to a viable platform for Western developers. The Chinese version of Zynga’s CityVille garnered the company a Top 10 App Award from Tencent last month — a very different experience than EA has so far had in China, where the Renren version of Popcap’s Plants vs. Zombies has failed to find traction.