What happened to our game in China?

This is the downloads graph for the last couple on the iOS version of a game called Spark of Genius.

I can see a big jump in downloads in mid August, but can’t see any increase in the adverts the game carries. I also can’t see any unusual activity for the Android version of the game.

We use Admob by Google to provide adverts in the game and hopefully make a bit of money. This tends to fail abysmally at making money on a small scale game like this, but generally the downloads and advert traffic show a near perfect correlation.

Drilling down on the iOS stats, I found that almost all of the downloads are in China. I can’t see any special treatment of China in the Admob documentation. googling a bit, I found that Admob is blocked by the Great Firewall of China. Admob are just keeping quiet and hoping nobody notices this though.

Searching further I found that the Android Play Store is also blocked in China. Again Google don’t mention this anywhere. They even let you customise the store entry with Chinese translations which they know won’t be used as nobody in China can even see the store.

This leaves small game developers like us at Ceirog Studios potentially spending money for translations to hit the worlds biggest market, only to find it’s wasted money because it’s blocked there. Of course Google don’t want to tell anyone that their Play Store is unavailable in China, but offering a translation service for there is a bit harsh. Luckily we had access to a native Chinese speaker so got the translations free.

So, ranting aside, I still have no idea why we suddenly became popular in China. I’m a lot wiser in the ways of the mobile distribution and advertising world though.


And finally, its gratuitous plug time…

Spark of Genius for Android and iOS.


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