Tagged: video games

Are we studying or copying from other games?

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

A snapshot from video game XIII

A snapshot from video game XIII

A snapshot from video game Borderlands

A snapshot from video game Borderlands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

The concept of iron sight was first introduced by Vietcong

The concept of iron sight was first introduced by Vietcong

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.

My expectations for a game reporter in China

game reporters in China are not taken seriously

game reporters in China are not taken seriously

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

hot babe lists in Chinese gaming sites

hot babe lists in Chinese gaming sites,we had enough

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

IGN, one of the major sources for Chinese game reporters

IGN, one of the major sources for Chinese game reporters

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.

Game snob

I’m just better than you noobs

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.

Your tone is crucial to your website

Your tone is crucial to your website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Contemporary gaming in China 101: Does China need a rating system like the ESRB?

Do we need a rating system like the ESRB?

Do we need a rating system like the ESRB?

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?

Gaming contents:

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?

underage gamer mature games

your gaming skill and these underage keyboard commandos’ mental development should be both taken into consideration

 

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.

Social Media Observation: EA China’s Weibo Account

Let’s begin by taking a look at EA China’s landing page:

EA China's Weibo Landing Page

EA China’s Weibo 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?

A Sample of EA China's interaction with customers

A Sample of EA China’s interaction with customers

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.

Social Media Observation: Ubisoft China’s Weibo Account

Gaming companies are using social media to promote and to expand their businesses in China, just like any other organization is doing everywhere nowadays. Are they doing a good job? Let’s have a look.

Weibo is the Chinese version of Twitter, and companies are using the platform intensively. Ubisoft is an example we will be using:

Ubisoft China’s Weibo landing page

As you can see from the snapshot above, Ubisoft China’s landing page is well-themed: companies logo, themed background, demonstration of the latest games. the lading page even features subsidiary weibo accounts of their games for further promotions

However there are something missing.
The relative content:

Ubisoft China's tweets

Ubisoft China’s tweets are mostly videos of games that Chinese gamers won’t be able to play legally

Yes, there are tweets about Ubisoft’s latest games (mostly videos), but only a few of them matters to the gamers in China since most of the videos are about games that have the slightest chances of getting in China, and the number of retweets of these contents proved my point. What should be done is to have more relative contents for the followers. To start, Ubisoft China can have more information put out for the new Assassin’s Creed game, which is set to release in China. Furthermore, they can have more information for the followers regarding their social games, given that it constitutes a large portion of immediate profit in China.

The interaction with the followers:

Ubisoft China's Message Board

Ubisoft China’s Message Board,as you can see that none of the latest messages was responded.

The One of the business advantage of weibo.com compared to twitter is the message board. Instead of interacting with the followers with tweets, the message board offers a more direct and instant interaction. However, Ubisoft China did not do a good job on that.

Just take a look at how many follower messages were replied by the account.  None. How would you get people to interact with you if you don’t reach out to them? where would they find motivations to engage with you if you don’t let their voice be heard? Of course the followers are not expecting you to reply every single message posted on your message board, but your gesture of taking care of your followers’ concerns will be appreciated.

Contemporary gaming in China 101: Is China going to have Xbox legally?

Microsoft created the Xbox Live website for the Chinese market, along with its’ promotion of the new system Win8.

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.

iQue Player

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.

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.