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The Internet publishing business of Tencent, the world’s fourth biggest Internet company by revenue, signed an agreement with Giant Interactive on Tuesday to develop games based on popular Internet novels.
The first fruits of the tie-up between the Tencent Literature subsidiary of Tencent and Giant is a game based on the Internet novel Ze Tian Ji. Giant Interactive vp Peng Cheng summed up the motivation for the deal when he said, “[g]ood stories and IP have their own values for game fans and readers.”
For Tencent Literature the deal fall in line with plans to monetize its huge cache of Internet novels and short stories through spin off mobile games and film adaptations. Since the founding of the Tencent Literature in September 2013, the Tencent subsidiary has accumulated over 200,000 works and claims over 15 million daily readers on mobile alone.
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Internet novels are hugely popular in China. The cheap cover prices for e-novels make them attractive to readers and the huge potential audience a boon to budding writers. Every successful Internet novel quickly has movie buzz attached to it, unsurprisingly given the many millions of readers who are a built-in potential audience for any such adaptation.
Farewell My Concubine director Chen Kaige‘s 2012 film Caught in the Web is among the most famous adaptations of an Internet novel in China in recent years. The film was based on the Internet novel Wang Shi by author Wen Yu, and was China’s entry for the foreign language Oscar.
Not all successful Internet novels make it to the screen despite the best efforts of the writer and film producers. In 2006, the fantasy trilogy Ghost Blows Out The Light by Zhang Muye sold 6 million copies online before it moved to print and the author sold the film rights for an adaptation starring Hong Kong star Johnnie To. An announcement was made at the Venice film festival in 2007, although a film version of Ghost Blows Out The Light still remains in development hell.
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