Contemporary gaming in China, Pt. 1: How Chinese web-based games ads are ruining it.

Ruining tactic 1. Disruption

Here is a link to a Chinese web-based game (turn down your volume, you’ve been warned.  By the way, If you can’t read Chinese, don’t click on anything): http://game.ad1111.com/smxj33/68—8b5036f707e9539e896d821c6cb7a551/?t=smxj&s=34&game=9027034&a=1&from=2003

Now that you ‘ve seen what is on the page, I can explain to you what the page is about:

It’s a pop-up page, classic one way disruption marketing tactic. Thanks to new browsers like Firefox and Google Chrome, now these pages will not be right in your face, instead they will be opened in a new tab. But does that keep you from being disrupted? No. Pages like this now have background music: loud, cheesy, illegally borrowed music (remember when I told you to turn down the volume? Every time you go on to a Chinese gaming site, these pop-ups would shock you like that).

Ruining tactic 2. The contents

Now let’s talk about the contents.  About everything you’ve seen on that page was not original, it’s either chopped from another game (sometimes even comic/manga) or with some minor modifications.

The text says: Real 3D web-based game, fast client-terminal download, the first 1000 registered player will get certain items/equipment for free.

How would this kind of message be appealing to gamers? A 3D game is nothing new, even if it’s “real”; should I be concerned by the downloading speed of the terminal software if I’m not interested in the game content, not to mention that the message failed to reveal any? If the game sucks (as anyone can expect when s/he looks at a page like this), who would even bother to pay any attention to the certain items/equipment?

However not all web-based game ads are like this, some are worse.

Check this one out: http://reg.gow.ucjoy.com/ucjoyreg/gow225/index.html?ad=01b2th80-you3

This is one of the many examples of awkward sex-sell

How is it awkward? What else did you notice besides this girl throwing a jab at you? And you wonder how is this girl related to the game? Well, I have no idea.

The original attempt was innocent, I suppose. It was just to attract more people through third-party endorsement. Then things when wrong from this point: companies started to dress the models with sexy or sometimes even obscene costumes for shooting the endorsement (Not the one I used for demonstration though, I just started this blog and I don’t want it to become distasteful this early), not only that, some companies even hired retired Japanese porn actress for the promotions. That I have no problem with, but that causes concerns from my parents’ generation.

The porn actresses the companies hired are well-known by both their fans and the parents of the fans, and obviously the two groups hold different opinions on the actresses.

By having this kind of endorsement, it is easy for the companies to generate some buzz, and make some of the gamers want to play the game, but in the meantime, such kind of endorsements would have the parents associate gaming with adult content very easily, and for now, the parents are still the people who would actually pay for the game. How would you make people want to pay for your products after you disgust them with the promotion? Other than that, how’s the endorser related to the games? Given that most of the Chinese web-based games are not sexually suggestive. Such kind of endorsements will not reach the desired effects.

I’m not saying sex appeal is generally bad, but the advertisers really need to have a look at the context in order to decide whether sex appeal is a good promotion strategy, especially for games, which are already being negatively perceived.

What do you all think? Is there anything I left out from the discussion? Let me know.

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