Tagged: Blizzard

Gaming history in China 101, Pt. 3: What keeps us from buying the games? (Continued).

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 have the will to do this but you can’t afford to do so.

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

Enough said

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you brought a game, you installed it, and what’s ahead of you is the numerous time of lagging and freezing due to your outdated hardware.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

the gesture which Chinese gamers would definitely appreciate turned out to be “a waste of time and money”

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

Sorry, we don’t sell that to your country.

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

Need I say more?

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.

Contemporary gaming in China 101 pt.2: The existing irony in the Chinese gaming industry.

As people would make fun of, most of the living essentials around us are made in China, which makes perfect sense for Chinese consumers to purchase a can of Dr. Pepper, a pair of Levi’s Jeans or a HP Laptop. For Gaming consoles however, it’s another story. The Minister of Culture banned gaming consoles (xbox 360, PlayStations. Etc, and you won’t be surprised about where they were made) in China (Find out why gaming consoles are banned in China here). Since consoles are banned in China, it left us with seemly only PC as the gaming platform. As I mentioned in the last post, we hardly sale games in China.

What’s more ironic is that, not only the gaming consoles were made in China, the actual games, which are played by gamers globally, are starting bear the made in China label. Let’s take look at what the big-shot companies are doing with their Chinese branches to get an idea:

EA Shanghai

According to their website, it is said that this branch is focusing on the development of online games. Furthermore, with the Asian-Pacific headquarters of PopCap (the one that create Bejeweled) located in Shanghai 4 years ago, EA Shanghai is also distributing its effort in the social/mobile gaming segment.

EA Beijing

EA Beijing, along with its subsidiary Playfish Studio is focusing on social games.

We can infer that while regular games (video games and PC gaming softwares) are banned in China, mobile/social games are on their way to reach the peaks. Are there different standards?

Furthermore, on EA’s social media outreach in the Chinese Twitter – Weibo.com, not only did they promote their mobile/social games, they also provide news regarding their product in other markets (e.g. the latest Mass Effect trilogy pack). It seems pointless for them to promote such product to this audience group given that in the foreseeable future, such product would never be sold in China.

BUT, maybe, maybe it’s EA’s strategy, a strategy to create the demand for such product? If so this is a clever move but it will take a long long time, given the current game retailing situation in China.

Ubisoft Shanghai

Ubi Shanghai is said to be one of the largest game developing studio in China. It has participated in game developments since 2000. The games Ubi Shanghai developed include the late Rayman series and a large number of the Tom Clancy’s branded games.

Blizzard Shanghai

Mainly focusing on the maintenance of the MMO World of Warcraft in China.

Blizzard’s operation revealed another double standard in the Chinese gaming industry. Online games are not banned. Why? It’s hard to pirate an online game and online game brings continuous profits.

So this is it? while Chinese who works at Ubi are developing games that can never be played legally by Chinese gamers, the industry in China generates its revenue almost entirely on the online gaming segment? Besides, the market for offline-gamers is ignored. There are tons of gamers like me, who are not really fond of online games but shares a common passion on offline games. The revenue might not be our biggest concern, instead, online gamers get to enjoy what they like while we have nothing to play unless we choose play illegally.

This is ironic, and there is something wrong about the restrictions.