Chinese video-sharing website Bilibili has made its stand clear that it intends to revolutionize the game distribution in China with a $123 million investment in TapTap as reported by Tech Crunch. Bilibili’s investment in TapTap is being looked upon as a step against traditional app distribution channels.
Earlier, the industry witnessed Epic Games vs Apple fiasco, where Fortnite was removed after it allowed players to buy paid in-game currency bypassing the App Store. To understand how is that even possible for Bilibili to disrupt the market then one needs to delve deep into the matter. TapTap is a platform that doesn’t charge a commission when the payment is made for in-app purchases. This is totally different from the likes of Huawei, Xiaomi, etc in China (Google and Apple also do the same worldwide) which charges a certain percentage from the developers. This has tempted not only individual developers but also the likes of Genshin Impact which skipped traditional android app distribution channels. TapTap is trying to be an alternative to these giant game distributors.
Bilibili is not only trying to disrupt the traditional game distribution market but it’s also diversifying its revenue streams to take on the likes of Tencent. In 2018, its revenue from mobile games accounted for 71% of overall revenue which reduced to just 40% in 2020. Bilibili is mostly known for ACG-themed mobile games, such as the Chinese version of Fate/Grand Order. They first bought an esports team named IM for League of Legends in December 2017 which was renamed Bilibili Gaming. In 2018, they entered into a Joint venture with GREE Inc to develop mobile games in Japan and China. It is also reported that Bilibili secured the rights to publish the Chinese version of Fall Guys Mobile.
Bilibili’s investment in TapTap – What does it mean for the Chinese game distribution market?
The Chinese game industry is very competitive as in 2018, it occupied 27 percent of the global gaming market in terms of size. In 2019, the Chinese market accounted for $36.5bn in gaming revenues, a little less than 25%. After the investment, Bilibili will have a 4.72% stake in TapTap which will bring them in a direct fight against the traditional game distributors like the might of Tencent, Huawei, and Xiaomi in China. With this investment, TapTap will work with other developers and bring them on board and also help them in skipping commission fees on IAP. This directly means that Bilibili is trying to disrupt the highly competitive Chinese market against the monopoly of Tencent and ByteDance.
Do you think that Bilibili’s investment in TapTap can disrupt the game distribution channel? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.