One of the more interesting aspects of the mobile messaging space, particularly here in Asia with Line, WeChat/Weixin, and KakaoTalk, is the games that they offer users. Given that WindRunner  has been a popular game on both the Line and Kakao platforms (see our past review from last February), it makes sense that China’s Tencent – a company known to occasionally copy from others  — would try to follow their lead.
That looks to be the intention behind GunZ Dash, a new mobile game launched on January 7, the global/English version of its Chinese language game Tiantian Kupao released back in September 2013.
In terms of gameplay, GunZ Dash is virtually identical to WindRunner, as you can see in our comparison video above. While it doesn’t surprise me that Tencent would release a Chinese-language copycat of a game, I’m a little surprised that they’d roll this title out to their global users too. But because WindRunner is such a good game, GunZ Dash is really fun too because it is a really quality copy.
The Chinese version of the game has been among China’s top five grossing iOS apps since its release (see chart below), so clearly its copy-to-China strategy is a smart one from a business perspective. But it’s interesting to see a copy-to-China game now being marketed abroad. As far as I can recall, that hasn’t happened so much in the past.
But Tencent has marketed WeChat in a number of Southeast Asian nations, including Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand, so maybe those are the gamers they are trying to attract here. Tencent will continue to do well pushing its services in emerging markets especially, continuing to mask that its services are made-in-China.
So where am I going with all this? Speaking in very general terms, I guess I’m just a little discouraged that one of China’s biggest internet success stories is such a ‘me-too’ company. As big as Tencent is, not many in the international media pay attention to it, and perhaps that’s why they can continue to do this sort of thing.
Up-and-coming companies like Xiaomi are a little more inspiring for the nation’s entrepreneurs, even with their don’t-call-me-Steve-Jobs/ dressed-just-like-Steve-Jobs CEO.
Tencent and WeChat will no doubt continue to thrive. But I don’t think I’ll ever be a fan.
Developed by Korean gaming company WeMade. ↩
And by occasionally copy, I actually mean build an internet empire by copying everything it can. ↩