The Chinese video game industry in the last two decades has grown dramatically and some large companies have managed to establish themselves internationally.
Companies like Tencent now control an important slice of the global gaming industry. Tencent for example, in addition to having full ownership of Riot Games, Funcom, Supercell, has also invested heavily in other large Western companies such as Epic.
Others, on the other hand, have managed to produce important international successes, often thanks to the free-to-play formula.
Chinese video games often prefer forms of online gaming, with cooperative mechanics, both on mobile platforms and PCs, but recently single-player games are also gaining more importance.
Let’s see below some of the greatest successes of the Chinese videogame industry.
In this list we will focus on games that are fully designed, developed, and produced in China, thus excluding titles developed on international licenses.
Do you agree with our list? How many have you played? Let us know in the comments to this article!
Related articles: Best video games set in China and Hong Kong
Genshin Impact (2020), Windows, PS4, Android, iOS
Genshin Impact, 原神, is a free-to-play action role-playing game by Shanghai video game developer and publisher miHoYo and it features a fantasy open world and an action-based battle system, heavily inspired by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Genshin Impact at the time of publication, received positive reviews, praising certain aspects of the game, such as the gameplay and the inspiring graphics.
Conqueror’s Blade (2019), Windows
Like many other games of Chinese origin, it is a free-to-play MMO production with turn-based strategy components and real-time tactics gameplay in online battles. The game was appreciated for its ease and accessibility of use, and its spectacular combat.
Let’s Hunt Monsters (2019), iOS, Android
Let’s Hunt Monsters, 一起来捉妖, is an augmented reality mobile game created by Tencent and widely labeled as a clone of Pokemon Go, which was not available in China, but in this case based on Chinese mythology. The game earned great popularity in China.
My Time at Portia (2019), Windows, Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One
My Time at Portia, 波西亚时光, developed by Pathea Games and published by Team17, combines aspects of RPG games and simulation games. The game is not perfect, but it’s fun, bright, and relaxing.
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Icey (2018), Windows, PS4, iOS, Nintendo Switch
Icey is a 2D side-scrolling hack-and-slash game developed by Shanghai FantaBlade Network Technology (Publisher: X.D. Network). In the game, the player controls a female cyborg to defeat Judas and his robot minions, linearly or breaking the fourth wall. The game was praised for its unusual choice of story-telling.
Girls’ Frontline (2016), Android
Girls’ Frontline, 少女前线, is a mobile strategy role-playing game developed by MICA Team. Players control the T-Dolls, echelons of android characters, acquired through gacha game mechanics. The T-Dolls are sent into battle to complete combat missions, simulations, or logistics support tasks. The game has had some success in China and South Korea and it was praised because it doesn’t force players to use pay-to-win microtransactions.
Honkai Impact 3rd (2016), Android, iOS, Windows
Honkai Impact 3rd, 崩坏3, is the third entry in the Honkai series and spiritual successor to Guns GirlZ. It’s a free-to-play 3D action role-playing mobile game developed by miHoYo, and it gained success for incorporating a variety of genres. Honkai Impact 3rd attracted a large fanbase in Asia.
JX Online 3 (2016), Windows
JX Online 3 is MMORPG with more than 3 million daily active users in East Asia. The game mechanics involve world-building with martial arts. It is one of the first games to support Nvidia’s RTX Ray Tracing.
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (2016), Android, iOS
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, 无尽对决, is a mobile multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) created by Moonton. The game has gained popularity in Southeast Asia and was chosen for the first medal event esports competition at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines. In 2018, Moonton lost a lawsuit against Tencent for the Mobile Legends’ plagiarism of League of Legends.
Revelation Online (2015), Windows
Revelation Online (“Revelation” in China, 天谕) is a free-to-play MMPORG created and published by NetEase, set in the fantasy world of Nuanor. The game received positive feedback for its beautiful graphics, support, and storytelling.
Runestone Keeper (2015), Windows, OS X, iOS, Android
Runestone Keeper is roguelike dungeon crawler created by Blackfire Games and it was praised for its solid gameplay. The game has been compared to Dungelot, but it distinguishes itself by introducing RPG elements.
Honor of Kings (2015), iOS, Android
Honor of Kings (王者荣耀; Wang Zhe Rong Yao) is a multiplayer online battle arena developed by TiMi Studios and published by Tencent Games for the Chinese market. By November 2020, the game has over 100 million daily active players. Honor of Kings was among the world’s most popular and one of the highest-grossing games of all time as well as the most downloaded app globally. An international version of the game, Arena of Valor, was released in October 2017.
The Legend of Sword and Fairy 6 (2015), Windows, (2019), PS4
The Legend of Sword and Fairy 6, 仙劍奇俠傳六, is an RPG created by Softstar Technology and the eight installments in the Legend of Sword and Fairy franchise. The game was not very well received: reviewers complained about its poor optimization, despite praising the game’s plot and voice acting.
Clash of Kings (2014), iOS, Android
Clash of Kings is a Chinese mobile MMO strategy game developed and published by Elex Tech. The game app was banned in India on 28 June 2020. The game has won the support of players around the world with its war strategy experience.
Rift Hunter (2013), iOS, Android
Rift Hunter (无限法则) is a multiplayer online mobile game with beat ’em up elements, developed by Yinhan. It features cooperative gameplay, as well as competitive PVP, single-player dungeons, and a guild system.
Titans Mobile (2012), iOS, Android
Titans Mobile is a free-to-play online war-strategy game by Something Big Technology Company Limited, where gamers need to choose their faction from Greeks factions before they can recruit Greek Myth heroes and train infantries.
Glorious Mission (2011), Windows
Glorious Mission (光荣使命) is a patriotic Chinese fps game for Windows platform developed by Giant Interactive Group, and it was the first online, military-themed video game released by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). A non-public, military version was also developed by China’s People’s Liberation Army. The plot focuses on the conflict between China and Japan over the disputed Senkaku Islands, or Diaoyu Islands in Chinese.
GKART [QQ speed, Garena Speed Drifters] (2010), Windows, (2017) Android, iOS
GKART is a massively multiplayer online racing game by TiMi Studios and published by Tencent and Garena. The game, released in China under the name of “QQ speed” gained enormous popularity in China. The Windows version was shut down in 2012. 5 years later a mobile version was launched for the Chinese market.
GuJian (2010), Windows
GuJian (古剑奇谭 琴心剑魄今何在) is a role-playing video game by Aurogon, published by Gamebar. GuJian was set in a fictionalized version of ancient China and includes elements of the traditional culture and Chinese mythology. The game is the first Chinese video game with fully voiced main characters. It was praised for its cinematic cutscenes, the story, and character setting.
Heroes of Gaia (2009), Flash
Heroes of Gaia (英雄之城), known in Europe as Castle of Heroes, is an MMO fantasy browser-based strategy game. In 2009 the game received the Jing Ling award for being “the best web game” in China.
Heroes of Three Kingdoms (2009), Windows
Heroes of Three Kingdoms (赤壁Online), developed by Perfect World, is another free-to-play MMPORG set in ancient China and inspired by The Romance of Three Kingdoms. The game fell into oblivion and was shut down in 2011 due to cheaters taking advantage of the game’s many glitches and lack of support.
Perfect World (2008), Windows
Perfect World, 完美世界, is a free-to-play fantasy MMORPG, heavily inspired by Chinese traditions and developed by Beijing Perfect World. It gained substantial success and it’s remembered for its peculiar phone lock system.
Happy Farm (2008), Social network game
Happy Farm (開心農場) developed by 5 Minutes was a social network game and MMO based on farm management simulation. It gained enormous success in Mainland China and Taiwan and the game’s host Tencent QQ capped the number of new players per day at 2 million. It was discounted in 2017. It is considered one of the most influential games of the decade, having inspired several games and clones such as FarmVille, Farm Town, Country Story, Sunshine Farm, Happy Farmer, and many others.
Crazy Mouse (2008), Xbox 360
The game was the first Chinese-developed video game to be developed and released for Xbox Live Arcade on the Xbox 360. At the time of its publication, it received very harsh criticism, but we decided to include it in the list out of historical curiosity.
Jade Dynasty (2007), Windows
Jade Dynasty, 诛仙, was a free-to-play MMORPG developed by Perfect World, based on the novel Zhu Xian (Jade Dynasty or The Attack of Heaven). In June 2018, the game’s servers were shut down, ending what was one of the most popular MMORPGs in China.
Dragon Oath (2007), Windows
Dragon Oath is a 2007 free-to-play MMORPG developed and published by Changyou.com and Sohu. Dragon Oath is based on the novel Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils by Louis Cha. The servers in America and Europe were closed in 2016. Dragon Oath has been awarded the Most-liked Online Game by Game Players by ChinaJoy for five consecutive years from 2006 to 2010 and was included in the World’s Top Five Most Profitable Game Franchises in 2009 by Forbes.
HiPiHi (2007), Windows
HiPiHi was an online 3D virtual world, often compared to Second Life, and was the first Chinese virtual world game that allowed virtual netizens to freely roam around.
Phoenix Dynasty Online (2007), Windows
Phoenix Dynasty Online, 凤舞天骄, was a free-to-play fantasy MMORPG created by Object Software Limited. The game was once again inspired by Chinese mythology and set in ancient China.
Voyage Century Online (2006), Windows
Voyage Century Online, 航海世纪/王者世紀, is a free-to-play nautical third-person massively multiplayer online role-playing game created by Snail Games, set in 16th-century Earth, featuring accurate historical representations of several coastal cities. The game places its emphasis on the exploration, trading, and combat phases.
Restaurant Empire I&II (2003-2009), Windows, OS X
The Restaurant Empire and its sequel were business simulation games created by Trevor Chan, where the player designs, owns, and operates a restaurant. The first game received favorable reviews, but it was criticized for its poor graphics and soundtrack.
Prince of Qin (2002), Windows
Prince of Qin, 秦殇, is an action RPG created by Object Software. The game is set in ancient China, during the final years of the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BCE). The game received mixed reviews while gaining popularity in China.
Fantasy Westward Journey (2001), Windows, (2015), iOS, Android
Fantasy Westward Journey, 梦幻西游, is an MMORPG developed by NetEase and was the most popular online game in China in 2007. Like many other Chinese titles, is inspired by the Chinese novel Journey to the West. As of 2019, the game grossed an estimated $6.5 billion in lifetime revenue, becoming one of the highest-grossing video games of all time.
Seven Kingdoms I & II (1997, 1999), Windows, Linux
Seven Kingdoms (七王國) is a history-fantasy real-time strategy video game franchise that was overshadowed at launch by competing titles such as Total Annihilation, Dark Reign, and Age of Empires. It was praised for its build-up phase.
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