Here is a teaser from one of the latest Chinese action game named Kung Fu Strike
id_XMzQzNDQ3Mzky.html (I can only find this video on the Chinese site, surprisingly it was not on Youtube)
Here is a teaser from Capcom’s StreetFighterIV
You might find these two videos are similar in some aspects, especially the visual effect of Asian traditional painting. The similarity between the two teasers revealed Chinese gamers’ perception of domestically-made video games: we make our own work by copying from others. However I think it seems unfair for Chinese games. I admit the similarity, but I considered it as a gesture of following the trend in the industry and a studying process.
Take a look at these two pictures
The two games all applied the visual effect of “cartoonization” (pardon my English, If there is a better word, let me know). Yet no one was accusing one copying another.
FPS game Vietcong was among the first few games that introduced the concept of iron sight to the FPS genre, then the concept is used by games such as Flashpoint, Call of Duty and eventually nearly every FPS games on the market. Yet no one was accusing the “stealing of concept either”.
Do you see where I am getting at? sometimes borrowing a concept isn’t copying or stealing, If the developers can implement the concept/features well into their own game, it definitely makes the game a better one. Others are doing it, and we should do it as well, for the sake of making better and better games. If the gamers feel the need to critique, they need to focus on the application of these concepts instead of the act itself. After all every one deserves to learn, and they need to learn from others’s work.
Improving what we have in the Chinese game industry requires a combined effort from three ends: the government, the game developers and the gamers. while as gamers we can only hope the government to loosen the restrictions and the game developers to make quality games. As gamers we can also contribute to improve the gaming environment in China. Here are my thoughts:
Be proud of your gamers identities.
Gaming is a entertaining activity. despite all the negative issues that gaming has involved in, there is nothing to be ashamed of If you’re a gamer. It’s just as normal as, or should I say, as cool as a basketball fan or what else you have on your mind.
Don’t be a game snob.
You are a gamer, the games you play does not define who you are. you should not let other gamers judge you by your gaming preference and more importantly, you should not judge other people by the games they play either. Playing games like Halo does not make you worse than others and playing World of Warcraft certainly does not make you better than others. Respect other’s gaming preferences.
Give substantial advises to game developers when given the chance.
Support our game developers, encourage them to make high-quality games for us to enjoy.If the game is considered distasteful by you, try to be nice, tell the developers what you expect in a decent game, don’t curse them, they( at least most of them) work very hard to deliver the game to you and they deserve your appreciations.
Have leisure activities other than gaming
So that gaming would not be the thing that consume all your time. Or in other cases, If the situation won’t allow you to play games, you have some other ways to enjoy your spare time. Which I think, would be a solution to reduce gaming -related crimes in China.
Pay for your games, to the right person.
I can’t stress this enough – the copyright issue in China. Like I mentioned above, the developers worked very hard to deliver those great games to us, they deserve to be rewarded, both mentally and materially. After all, it’s what they do for a living. Paying for the game you like means a lot to them. And remember, give your money to the authorized retailers.
Game reporter is perceived as a casual job in China, while it is actually not different from other kinds of reporters besides the topics their cover. Why game reporters are perceived as casual for a profession? Some of the reporters don’t take the career very seriously. I’ve identified the following aspect that some game reporters can improve based on my observation of some major gaming websites in China.
1. Less topic 10s of the hottest female characters
It is fine for readers to have some “eye-candies” occasionally, but stuffing contents like that on your landing page almost everyday is not cool. Be considerate for your female readers, who might now being constantly offended by the cyber-collections you published. Besides, your judgement of beauty will be judged, and the judgement will always go to the comments.
2. Less IGN articles, more original thoughts
Every time when there is a new game, IGN will give a review. Chinese reporters do the same, but their reviews would just be a translation of the snapshot they took from the IGN review page. Where is your original input of the game? Of course you can use the IGN review as a reference, but it should stay as a reference only. If we as readers would like an review from IGN, we go to the website directly. It’s 2012, most of the Chinese gamers’ English skills are sufficient to handle an English game review. Speaking of English skills, If you really want to translate the original article, please translate them correctly. “Grammar police” is a global phenomenon, If you messed up the translation, you will be humiliated by them, in the comments, big time. And your credibility of reputation? Ouch.
3. Don’t publish snobbery articles.
We understand your preference when it comes to gaming, so you should also understand others’ preferences as well. Writing articles with a preference is one thing, bad-mouthing fans of different genre/platforms is another. The snobbery issue has already been pretty severe in the Chinese gaming society. Try not to worsen it.
4. Manage your tone.
We appreciate humor, but not all of us enjoy old, crude or inappropriate jokes. Update your funny pool frequently and be serious occasionally, it is crucial to maintain some sense of authority and credibility for the website, If you take everything casually (whether it was your intention or not), eventually no one will take your articles seriously.
In China, we don’t have an official game rating system for the gamers. Instead, we tend to regulate gamers’ gaming practices.
In The Report of Developming Online-Gaming Addiction Prevention System released by the GAPP in 2005. it is suggested that the regulator should regular gamers'(especially gamers under the age of 18) behaviors by:
promoting a healthy and commonly accepted sense of time
Gaming within 3 hours is defined as “healthy”, gaming between 3-5 hours is defined as “exhaustive” and gaming duration over 3 hours is defined as “unhealthy”.
Setting regulations on gaming duration:
With the established definitions, online-game developers are required to build in a penalty system that cuts down gaming bonuses (e.g. experiences, in-game currency and items. etc.) when the gamers pass the “healthy” phase. Besides, the developers are also required to building notification system aims to notify gamers for their online gaming time: the notification starts when the gamers pass the 3 hour limit, and will become more frequent if the gamers choose to continue the game.
While we give the regulators credit for their good will towards underage gamers, we are skeptical about the regulations.
It regulates online gaming behavior only:
Then what about PC/Console gaming? how do you measure gaming time that’s offline, is that even doable? If not, what would the regulators do for underage gamers who plays only offline games?
How can they be sure the game is suitable for gamers of a certain age? While you are frustrating about being beaten by a 12-year-old in Call of Duty(which is rated Mature by ESRB), should you also be concerning about the influence Call of Duty has on the kid?
With that being said, we do need to have content rating system, like the ESRB. However, Chinese regulators cannot just bring everything ESRB has established to China. the system won’t fit our situation because our gamers are different from gamers in the States due to socio-economic and cultural differences. We need to develop our own rating system based on the factors around us.
Do Chinese gamers play domestically-games? Yes and No.
Based on my observation, industry revenue generated through online gaming in China contributes to most of the total industry revenue. Revenue generated through domestically made online games, contributes a large portion of the online gaming revenue.
But for PC games, It’s not looking as good as the online segment.
Gamers don’t play them, don’t care about them and make fun of them.
Here is a video I made to address this concern:
Support our developers.
media exposure of gaming related crimes is nothing new to Chinese gamers. It goes like this:
” ______(insert a name) is a college/middle school student in_____( insert city name in China) who likes to play______( enter a popular MMO games) in Internet Cafes. ______(Insert date)____(insert name) went to play games in the Internet Cafe and ran out of money,s/he decide to go on to the streets and rob/kill someone for money so s/he could continue play games. _____(insert another name), a(n)_____(insert working title) at _____(insert company name) was robbed/killed by_____(insert the name you choose in the first blank)….”
Normally when I’m browsing a Chinese gaming site, I couldn’t care less when there is a news reporting gaming related crime. Not that I’m apathetic, it’s just that these news are all the same: same scenario, same reason and same outcome.
Given our perception of the propaganda-like media outlet we have in China, it is very easy for us to assume that the “news” were shaped to be the same or even created by the media to serve a purpose. That’s why they are all the same to us.
But then I begin to wonder: What if the crime were really the same and the media didn’t shape the information at all? No matter what the answer is, games (online games specifically) and are to blame, every time when there is a gaming related crime. Both the media and the crime suspects blame the games for being “very addictive”.
I think the media and the crime suspects shares the blame regarding game related crimes, thus here are some more questions I came up with.
1. If a teenager choose to rob/kill others for money so s/he can play his/her MMO:
Why is s/he out of money? Normally going to an Internet cafe costs 3RMB(0.5 USD)/Hr, it’s relatively cheap. Either the kid’s family is going through financial hardships (the media should cover that) or the kid spent his/her pocket money unwisely (parents should educate their kids on how to spent money)
why did s/he spent all his/her money on games?
please refer to the second half of the answer above. (get your education going moms and dads!)
Why did s/he choose to rob/kill someone instead of going home and call it a day?
You can say that gaming is addictive, but it is not THAT addictive. If gaming is very addictive to you, well, either you should change your attitudes towards gaming or games is just not for you.
2. If a teenager can easily rob/kill some one on the streets:
To the media: why don’t you focus more on the lack of police patrol on the streets instead of the games s/he is playing?
To the kid: Killing and Robbing is wrong. It might be easy given the poor safety standard in your neighborhood, but that doesn’t justify your behavior, oh no, being a kid who likes to play games doesn’t help.
All I’m saying is, It’s not the games’ fault and the demonizing of games and gamers are ridiculous. (I’m a gamer but all I do recently besides playing game is writing blog posts with grammar mistakes, being a gamer does not make me a bad person). Gaming related crimes are called such only because the people involved are gamers, nothing more than that. Instead of focusing on demonizing the games, both the media and the public should focus more on the social issues revealed by such crimes.
Let’s begin by taking a look at EA China’s landing page:
As you can see, like Ubisoft China, EA China’s landing page is also well-developed with a profile page and a background that is consistent with the organization’s positioning, a list of links to the subsidiary accounts and a message board.
Let’s find out if EA China is developing substantial contents on the page:
EA China, like Ubisoft China, also releases information on games that won’t be coming to China, but with less counts, based on the contents provided by EA China, a followers would easily notice that most of the tweets are related to EA’s mobile apps, which is consistent with EA’s current strategy in the China market – mobile gaming. Furthermore, tablet/mobile games are accessible for Chinese gamers, so instead of putting informations that Chinese gamers can’t relate (about PC/consoles that can’t be purchased in China), content’s of tablet/mobile games are more attractive to Chinese gamers.
However, it seems that EA China is covering gamers’ gaming experience of PC/Console games(e.g. trivia of Dead Space series, the celebration of N7 Day from the Mass Effect Trilogy) at the same time with it’s awareness of the pirated versions of EA products. From my standpoint, this is EA’s effort to promote it’s gaming culture , however, this might go both ways: there is a possibility that the gamers, who play pirated EA games, would think that EA is embracing their behaviors by communicating related gaming events with them.
What about Interactions with the followers?
Questions, Retweets, Polls and interactions on the message board. It seems like EA is doing a much better job interacting with followers compared to Ubisoft. Besides that, the tone EA China uses is very casual and humorous when communicating with followers. With the efforts EA China put into online interaction, it is certain that followers are more likely to engage with the brand because they get the sense of their voices being heard.
If the current gaming environment in China stays the same for PC and gaming consoles, would tablet/mobile gaming be a new way out? With a increasing number of quality games for our smartphones and tablets, this solution seems very promising.
However, if focusing on tablet/mobile gaming is what Chinese gaming industry choose to progress then the Industry needs to wait.
Here are the reasons:
1. The limitation of gaming types and mechanisms:
What are the most popular games on your devices? Social games (Word with Friends, Draw Something, any game that ends with “ville” or “story”). These kind of games fits for the device perfectly because tapping and dragging would be the majority of your actions when playing social games and your smartphone/tablet’s touchscreen is perfect for your actions.
However social gamers are not the majority of gamers in China. Like everywhere else, gamers are roughly divided into three groups: role playing (RPG), action (ACT) and first person shooting (FPS).
If the tablet/mobile games want to reach out to these 3 groups, the touch screen would be considered as a disadvantage sometimes: aiming on an enemy by scrubbing your finger on the touch screen is harder than it looks compared to moving your joysticks or your mouse; you won’t be sure if you have hit the virtual button on the screen because the screen is flat. your touch screen might not be able to receive your action correctly if you have sweaty hands.
Recently developers brought out the controller attachment to the tablets (as shown in the picture below). Does this solve the problem? yes and no.
I don’t need to explain the “yes” part as the picture is very self-explanatory. The “no part” on the other hand is about your investment.
Normally an action game (or RPG or FPS) won’t exceed the price of $6.99, but a controller like this probably would cost you about 30 bucks. Does the improvement of your gaming experience worth the price?
Also, if you have been a frequent tablet/mobile gamer. you will notice that an RPG or action game lasts shorter than you have expected. Of course it can’t last for 10-12 hours of gaming time because you might have paid only $3.99 for the game, another reason is that your device (whether it’s your smartphone or your tablet) can’t hold a game that’s as big as a game for your Playstation. Do you really want to spent 30 bucks to play games that are not long enough?
2. The perception of tablet/mobile gaming in China:
“I grew up playing games that takes a long time and requires complex commants, I don’t really want to settle for games like Angry Birds.” Given the factors I mentioned in the last bullet, mobile/tablet gamers are considered casual gamers in China. It’s not that the notion of casual gamers is negative, it is just that the notion is new to Chinese gamers, and it is hard for the Chinese gamers to participate in the transition.
Also, if we’ve overcame the transition, the mobile characteristics enabled us to play games wherever we want and whenever we want and that will eventually lead to playing games at work/school (actually people are doing this nowadays). There is a chance that your boss/professor does not like this characteristics as much as you do, not to mention your parents, who might have already been pissed by the fact that your play video-games.
Before the win8 debut, Microsoft brought it to Shanghai, China. Along with the promotion for the new system, Microsoft also created a Chinese Xbox site.( Xbox Official). While the site is promoting services of the online interaction system Xbox Live (the interaction between PC, tablets and Windows phone for the Chinese market). Microsoft’s ambition to re-introduce the gaming console Xbox can be easily noticed.
Both the seller and the customers are anticipating the yet-to-come gaming console while it is still illegal in China to produce them. How would Microsoft dodge that bullet? Here are my thoughts on that:
It might be achieved by playing a “positioning trick”
The law regarding gaming consoles is not welcomed by the gamers in China, the enforcement of the law is also powerful. However,the enforcers of the law don’t care much about the game industry enough to figure out what gaming consoles have become these years. Furthermore, given the existing entertainment devices we have on the market, It seems that the law enforcers took the law literally. Take Nintendo for example. Nintendo introduced it’s device iQue player, a product of the joint production between Nintendo and Chinese company.
If you have never seen an iQue Player before, there you have it. How is this not a gaming console you asked? Well, Nintendo and its’ Chinese partner tricked the Chinese government by implementing the notion of ” playing video games contributes to the mental development of children”, therefore instead of being positioned as a gaming console, the iQue Player is actually a “mental ability developing device” and whoever is in charge of the “gaming consoles control” is OK with it.
If Microsoft choose to go down the same road in order to re-introduce Xbox, Instead of a gaming console, an “interactive family entertainment device/system with motion capturing technology (thanks to Kinect)” could be Xbox’s new position in China. However, this strategy also has its’ shortcomings. As a dedicated gaming console, Xbox was perceived as a device for video games since the its’ very first appearance on the market. If the reputation was too well-established, the idea of “interactive family entertainment device/system” might not be as convincing as expected.
Thus, while we’re all anticipating Xbox in China, let’s also hope that the console is not that famous in the eyes of the law enforcers.