If you can recall from one of my past posts. I gave a brief explanation of why Chinese gamers won’t pay for the copyrighted video games.
Today I seeks to find out more factors that keeps Chinese gamers from buying the games and here they are:
1. Uncertainty about the game quality
You’ve seen the trailers, you’ve seen the promo ads and you’ve seen the celebrities endorsing the games. Now, imagine that you buy the game and you realize that it sucks or not your thing by the first 10 minutes of playing. in the meantime, you realized that the $59.99 (or the equivalent value in Chinese currency) you just spent is in vain. Will you be having second thoughts when you see another new game being promoted?
2. Uncertainty about the games’ hardware requirements
Given the situation in China, most gamers play video games on their PCs, therefore their gaming experiences are solely depending on their computers’ performances. Now Imagine this, you brought a game, you installed it, and what’s ahead of you is the numerous time of lagging and freezing due to your outdated hardware. Or even worth, your computer won’t even let you finish the installing process, now you don’t even have an opportunity to find out whether the game you bought sucks or not.
3. No demos
If a demo version of the games were provided (like they used to, ages ago), gamers would have the opportunity to find out if the games match their tastes or if their computers are capable of running the game, without paying the seemingly high prices. However, game developers/distributors/retailers decided that releasing demo versions for the gamers is a waste of both their time and money. Then what happened? Please refer back to the last two bullets.
4. Geographical restrictions
This one might have been one of the chicken and egg dilemma. Which started first? The piracy or the restrictions? All I know is that big companies like EA and Activition Blizzard are not considering China as their market segments when it comes to PC games, which in a sense encouraged piracy of gaming in China: with the power if Internet, Chinese gamers are also being updated about new games, they want to play the games as well but there is no place to buy the games in China, thus it seems like there is no better alternatives for them to download the games illegally.
5. Pirated games are free for most of the time
Instead of trying out the demo for a limited time, pirated games allows Chinese gamers to play the whole games without paying. Again, who doesn’t like free stuff? Moreover, there is a trending mentality among Chinese gamers that, big gaming companies couldn’t care less about the so called “loss” caused by pirated games in China because they are just filthy rich. Well, this might be true to the big names, but in the meantime, small studio suffers, due to the cost of developing the games and the lacking of generated revenue.
Those are the major reasons that I concluded with my friends (Thank you!). If there is anything that’s left out, let me know in the comment.
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.