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[Column] General: A Peek Behind the Bamboo Curtain

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,585MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

An often overlooked aspect of the MMO market in today's world is the Chinese market, one that is vital and enormous. In today's Free Zone, we take a look at the Chinese game community and what it means in game development. Check it out before heading to the comments to talk about it.

Like me, Monte is of the opinion many western gamers pay little or no attention to China's market or development industry. “The number one reason is that Chinese gamers are mostly attracted by games based on Chinese culture, for instance, hundreds have been made based on the Westward Journey mythology and the three kingdoms historic novel,” he explained. “There are also many based on Chinese ancient martial arts. Both categories are difficult for the western audience to relate to, especially the former.” Accordingly, it's no surprise when he says the main benefit of knowing more about China's market, industry and games would be a degree of understanding about the country's rich culture, obviously not as accurate as what we'd gain from studying it, but also without the effort that would require. 

Read more of Richard Aihoshi's The Free Zone: A Peek Behind the Bamboo Curtain.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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Comments

  • bcbullybcbully Westland, MIPosts: 8,272Member Uncommon

    This western gamer went east in search of something new. I found Wushu. I hope our western "aaa's" wake the hell up. 

     

    funny comment in there "I wonder why in the US, they don't make more games based on the Civil War?" This is a jab at the US. Our history is like a blip compared to Chinese history. 

  • sakersaker harrisburg, PAPosts: 993Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by bcbully

    This western gamer went east in search of something new. I found Wushu. I hope our western "aaa's" wake the hell up. 

     

    funny comment in there "I wonder why in the US, they don't make more games based on the Civil War?" This is a jab at the US. Our history is like a blip compared to Chinese history. 

    I always wonder why a Wild West MMO hasn't been made. Anyone who's seen HBO's DeadWood would love to play in that "world".

  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,197Member Uncommon

    Interesting article. I'm interested in how the genre is going to evolve globally.

    1. How are SEA company investments in Western establishments going to influence their growth and direction?

    2. I consider Japanese gaming a separate entity from the rest of Asian or Western gaming. Japanese and Western companies already have long ties. I'm curious how a more established Japanese gaming platform is going to react and evolve out of this and how those long term Western and Japanese relationships will change as a result.

    3. I'm curious if these newer ties will bring more multi-national gaming.

    4. How will these relationships influence design.

    5. How will business models evolve.

  • bcbullybcbully Westland, MIPosts: 8,272Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Torvaldr

    Interesting article. I'm interested in how the genre is going to evolve globally.

    1. How are SEA company investments in Western establishments going to influence their growth and direction?

    2. I consider Japanese gaming a separate entity from the rest of Asian or Western gaming. Japanese and Western companies already have long ties. I'm curious how a more established Japanese gaming platform is going to react and evolve out of this and how those long term Western and Japanese relationships will change as a result.

    3. I'm curious if these newer ties will bring more multi-national gaming.

    4. How will these relationships influence design.

    5. How will business models evolve.

    Maybe the best thing, well one of the best things about Wushu is that I literally play with people from all over the world., from boston to vietnam. to greece, to sweeden to china. All in the same teams speak. 

     

    I hope more non-region locked games come out of this. I worry though that a lot of our western gaming brethren will refuse to adapt. Some will hide be hide words like "localization."

     
  • WraithoneWraithone Salt Lake City, UTPosts: 3,592Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by bcbully

    This western gamer went east in search of something new. I found Wushu. I hope our western "aaa's" wake the hell up. 

     

    funny comment in there "I wonder why in the US, they don't make more games based on the Civil War?" This is a jab at the US. Our history is like a blip compared to Chinese history. 

    Yet with all of that extended, rich, complex history, it wasn't until late in the 20th century that they finally managed to at least partially get their act together...

    I've played more Asian games (in the original) than I really care to remember.  The vast majority tend towards grinding, and micro transactions.  The standard practice with all too many is to re skin and rule change the same handful of engines and then spin up the hype machine.  Shovel ware doesn't even begin to describe a lot of those.

    They also tend to focus on PvP, much more than the modern western markets do.  But games like Wushu are worth while exceptions.

    It will be interesting to see what happens, as the current trends start to merge.

     

  • IcewhiteIcewhite Elmhurst, ILPosts: 6,403Member
    Originally posted by bcbully

    funny comment in there "I wonder why in the US, they don't make more games based on the Civil War?"

    Not so terribly difficult to figure out.

    Your company is choosing between two venues for its next title: Orcs and Trolls, or Union and Confederacy.

    One doesn't seem like much special prep would be required, hand your guys a Tolkein book (or copy of Ultima I and a 286 machine), and they'll have the general idea.

    The other one looks like a mine field that pretty much requires your dev staff to be well-educated in History, Geography, as well as military science and theory...and loads of period factoids.

    Hmm. Tough call.

    Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  • ShadanwolfShadanwolf Posts: 2,114Member Uncommon

    OP

    very interesting information.Thanks.

  • bcbullybcbully Westland, MIPosts: 8,272Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Icewhite
    Originally posted by bcbully

    funny comment in there "I wonder why in the US, they don't make more games based on the Civil War?"

    Not so terribly difficult to figure out.

    Your company is choosing between two venues for its next title: Orcs and Trolls, or Union and Confederacy.

    One doesn't seem like much special prep would be required, hand your guys a Tolkein book (or copy of Ultima I and a 286 machine), and they'll have the general idea.

    The other one looks like a mine field that pretty much requires your dev staff to be well-educated in History, Geography, as well as military science and theory...and loads of period factoids.

    Hmm. Tough call.

    yep, might be kind of cool. How long did the Civil War last, four years? About 150 years ago? Maybe we should go back to the "settling" of America. I can see some really interesting themes there. Territory control and exploration. 

     

    You know how when a western dev makes a game, it's like "5 thousand years ago in a far off place." China's like 2000 years ago during the Han dynasty.... Too far? No problem how about 600 years ago during the Ming Dynasty. Out comes Wushu with a historically correct game world. 

  • IcewhiteIcewhite Elmhurst, ILPosts: 6,403Member
    Originally posted by bcbully

    You know how when a western dev makes a game, it's like "5 thousand years ago in a far off place." China's like 2000 years ago during the Han dynasty....

    You're basically saying a fictional venue is always going to be easier to create than a historical one.

    Shock and surprise, you're right! Not only loads easier to make, but appeals to a broader audience too! (gasp)

    Thank goodness for Sid Meier? Or those guys that did Shogun all those years back?

    Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  • bcbullybcbully Westland, MIPosts: 8,272Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Icewhite
    Originally posted by bcbully

    You know how when a western dev makes a game, it's like "5 thousand years ago in a far off place." China's like 2000 years ago during the Han dynasty....

    You're basically saying a fictional venue is always going to be easier to create than a historical one.

    Shock and surprise, you're right! Not only loads easier to make, but appeals to a broader audience too! (gasp)

    Thank goodness for Sid Meier? Or those guys that did Shogun all those years back?

    i got what you where saying. I chose to focus on the concept you brought to the table, instead of the part you where you're saying "why make cake when most people never tasted one, make more cookies (with the cookie cutterimage). Plus cookies are easier to make." The industry is in dire need of cake.

     

    "The settling of America"tm Smash hit, sandbox, just waiting on Blizzard. 

  • CnameCname KinabaluPosts: 125Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by bcbully

    yep, might be kind of cool. How long did the Civil War last, four years? About 150 years ago? Maybe we should go back to the "settling" of America. I can see some really interesting themes there. Territory control and exploration.  

    You know how when a western dev makes a game, it's like "5 thousand years ago in a far off place." China's like 2000 years ago during the Han dynasty.... Too far? No problem how about 600 years ago during the Ming Dynasty. Out comes Wushu with a historically correct game world. 

    In China, historical MMORPG can go back as far as 3000 years ago (Shang dynasty). Each of the dynasties has unique settings and characteristics.

    The article by Richard itself is spot on the topics he bought up if a little too brief.  Like the title suggested it is only "a peek".

    One thing "The Free Zone" didn't bring up is that locally produced subscription MMORPGs are still doing relatively well in China. 

     

    "A game is fun if it is learnable but not trivial" -- Togelius & Schmidhuber

  • FreezzoFreezzo EnschedePosts: 235Member

    It's almost as if some people forget Europe/Mediterranean area has a history as well: Egypt, Greece, the Roman Empire, the middle ages/renaissance, colonising (Africa, Asia, Americas) and much more.

    It's not that hard to think of settings either. There have been a lot of conflicts between France and England (hundred years' war), Germany wasn't Germany for a long time, there have even been vikings. It's a much wealthier history than the USA has and it's much better known and easier to get into for the western public than the Chinese history and culture.

    "We need men who can dream of things that never were." - John F. Kennedy
    And for MMORPGs ever so true...

  • Jairoe03Jairoe03 Winthrop Harbor, ILPosts: 732Member


    Originally posted by bcbully
    ...
    funny comment in there "I wonder why in the US, they don't make more games based on the Civil War?" This is a jab at the US. Our history is like a blip compared to Chinese history. 


    I had to respond because this statement was rather silly and fairly ignorant. Our history might be a blip compared to the Chinese because we are literally not even 1/10 as experienced in terms of existing as a nation/society. Plus Civil War doesn't fit in as easily into the very popular fantasy settings that the Three Kingdoms has a much easier time fitting into because they existed in ancient times.


    Who in the right mind would want to play at the very least an MMO based on the Civil War (because we are on a MMO forum I assumed your suggestion was for a Civil War MMO)? Maybe if you turned it Steam Punk and threw in big axes/swords and magic for good measure, but it sounds silly. Not a good fit for a fantasy setting at all.

  • patstewartvapatstewartva Bowie, MDPosts: 4Member
    Originally posted by Jairoe03

     


    Originally posted by bcbully
    ...
    funny comment in there "I wonder why in the US, they don't make more games based on the Civil War?" This is a jab at the US. Our history is like a blip compared to Chinese history. 

    Who in the right mind would want to play at the very least an MMO based on the Civil War (because we are on a MMO forum I assumed your suggestion was for a Civil War MMO)? Maybe if you turned it Steam Punk and threw in big axes/swords and magic for good measure, but it sounds silly. Not a good fit for a fantasy setting at all.

    The South will re-animate again!  :D

     

  • ScalplessScalpless SnowballvillePosts: 1,395Member Uncommon

    Let's not forget the MMO versions of the Three Kingdoms era are historical fantasy. You've got gravity-defying jumps, fairy tale monsters, etc. They're actually pretty close to the settings of Age of Conan, The Secret World and Dark Age of Camelot.

     

     

  • thinktank001thinktank001 oasisPosts: 2,027Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Cname

    In China, historical MMORPG can go back as far as 3000 years ago (Shang dynasty). Each of the dynasties has unique settings and characteristics.

    The article by Richard itself is spot on the topics he bought up if a little too brief.  Like the title suggested it is only "a peek".

    One thing "The Free Zone" didn't bring up is that locally produced subscription MMORPGs are still doing relatively well in China. 

     

     

    He doesn't bring that up because of his agenda to promote the poorly made microtransaction model that almost all developers use. 

  • mCalvertmCalvert Tallahassee, FLPosts: 1,283Member

    "I wonder why in the US, they don't make more games based on the Civil War"

    Because of WOW. Game companies are constantly trying to duplicate its success and they think simply cloning it constantly will do this.  So they don't try something original.

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