By Anthony James, Staff Writer

During China’s dynamic economic growth, the focus has mainly been on the markets and
technological advancements and massive changes in China’s entertainment industry have often
been overlooked, especially in an area in which the United States and other Asian markets
have dominated: video games. On the surface you’d think that a country where Western media
is censored, consoles are banned, and video games are often denounced by politicians as
evil, ...

 that the popularity of video games would take a back seat to math homework, but in
reality China boasts the largest and most dominant video game and online multiplayer gaming
community in the world. Walk around most major cities in China, you will find internet cafes filled
with gamers next to the pool halls and karaoke bars. And as with with any large community,
you’ll find the odd stories: rehab centers open for gaming addiction, violence, murders, and
even vengeful fathers who hire “hitmen” to take out their children’s online avatars are a shining
an example of how active and diverse China’s gaming community has become. With the large
size of China’s gaming community, the next question is obvious: where are the Chinese video

The top three games in China, according to the gaming site, are Blade and Soul,
League of Legends, and Lineage Eternal. None of the three were developed in China, but
come from the United States and South Korea, where both boast some of the best competitive
gamers in the world. China’s lack of homegrown games but plethora of gamers has not gone
unnoticed by party officials. Xinhua, China’s official news agency, reported last July that Sun
Shoushan, leader of the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP), promised to
urge domestic companies to produce online games in an effort to win over Chinese gamers.
According to Xinhua, this was no surprise: China’s Ministry of Industry and Information
Technology reported that the number of online gamers in 2012 doubled compared to the year
before. Under the GAPP’s directive, the first Chinese gaming convention in July, ChinaJoy
2013, will showcase better gaming hardware and software, which became accessible to
the growing Chinese middle class. "While tightening approval standards for online games, the
GAPP will continue to create green channels for products with original content, exquisite style and
independent technology during their research, development and publishing," Sun Shoushan told

Even though there certainly is a market in China for domestically developed, original online
games, it doesn’t mean that Chinese developers are going to have it easy. Out of the large
amount of Massive-Multiplayer-Role-Playing-Games (MMORPGs) that have come out of China
recently, one of the consistent features of the games is their high amount of negative response
from the forums and social media in China. Critics complain Chinese-made online games lack
originality, replicating styles from foreign-made titles. Games like Shining Sword and Resistance
War 2, which allow the player to join a resistance against the imperial Japanese army during
World War II, have shown very low popularity rankings, 376th and 718th according to
Chinese MMORPGs often are based on already-popular novels and television shows in China,                                     such as Tian Long Ba Bu (Dragon Oath).

Even though many of China’s games are not making the profits of their U.S. or South Korean
counterparts, there are still those that have gained an international following. Beijing’s Perfect
World International has acquired a gaming structure not unlike Zynga, creator of Facebook
games like Farmville, while attracting gamers who play 3D fantasy games like Blizzard
Entertainment’s World of Warcraft. Perfect World’s leading title, PWI, a free-to-play MMORPG
inspired by Chinese mythology, has opened up discussion with gamers to improve on the
narrative and features with future expansions and upgrades. With English versions quietly
entering the North American market, Perfect World is currently rethinking its development
strategy to cross into multiple-platforms including cell phones and consoles, which weren’t
possible in China.

While internationally renowned games like PWI do not align with GAPP’s urging for domestic
and patriotic games, other genres are coming out of the woodwork to give hope for China’s
gaming community. First-person shooter Glorious Mission, made by Wuxi Glorious Mission
Company, was initially created for military training and then released to the public earlier this
year. Currently the BBC has reported million downloads and is listed 57th most popular among
Chinese gamers in its genre, which isn’t bad considering the daunting competition. Gu Kai, Wuxi
Glorious Mission Company’s vice president, described it to Al Jazeera as a dream come true: “In
the past, Chinese were always the bad guys in games. My dream was to create a game where the
Chinese can be the heroes.”

While still young, China’s gaming industry has not paralleled its gaming community’s quick rise to
prominence. With a projected rise in China’s games market at an annual growth rate of 12.3 percent
from 2013 to 2017, and sales reaching US$22 billion (China's Gaming Industry Report 2012), the
next few years will be imperative for domestic game developers to gain new fans in order draw fans
away from foreign substitutes. For GAPP to realize its goals, more Glorious Missions or PWIs will
have to show up on game store shelves.

CAAM Horizweb2

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