OpenFeint Partners With The9 to Bring Game Developers to China, Android

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By Kim-Mai Cutler Comment

Mobile game developers. Meet China. Start salivating.

OpenFeint, a social network for mobile gamers, is partnering with Chinese game developer The9 to port top iOS gaming titles to Android.

With financial support from a $100 million fund called Fund9, the partnership’s real ambition is to bring top free-to-play titles to the Chinese market, which has traditionally been several steps ahead of the U.S. in terms of monetization through virtual goods. On top of that, there has been a veritable “Cambrian explosion” of Android devices in China, fueled by device manufacturers targeting the very bottom end of the market.

The two companies will review and choose games to port to Android and help them localize — which usually means translating the game and modifying art work to be culturally appropriate.

OpenFeint, which says it reaches 68 million players in 4,800 games and just launched on Android six months ago, doesn’t know what kinds of games will work well in the Chinese market yet.

“We’re just starting to bring games over to China with our partners, so it’s too early to tell what will truly work in that market,” said vice president of marketing Eros Remini said. “That said, we think freemium titles have a good chance there.”

The $100 million Fund9 is a three-month old Chinese development fund that invests in mobile apps, game engines, and platform technology. It’s a collaboration between The9, China Rock Capital Management, Chengwei Ventures, and China Renaissance K2 Ventures.

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