Posts Tagged ‘china’

What’s It Like To Launch An Indie Game From China?

The first thing you notice about Lost Castle, an enjoyable 2D side-scrolling action RPG, is that the art style makes the characters, heroes and villains alike, kind of cute. Bosses aside, some look almost cuddly, in a macabre sort of way.

Underneath this visage lies an action-packed, challenging and enjoyable game in which more than a few deaths are inevitable, even when playing with a friend. Gary Ho, one of the Hunter Studio developers who accompanied the game from China to Kyoto, Japan, for BitSummit, a yearly indie game festival, in early July, said he wanted to make a “cute Dark Souls.”

The game’s underlying difficulty is apropos given the inherent challenges of indie development in China.

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Chinese Prisoners Used As Gold Farmers?

Funny alt-text joke has been given the afternoon off

This one’s a little disturbing, so if you’re in a good mood then proceed with caution. The Guardian has spoken to a Chinese man by the pseudonym of Liu Dali who claims that during his spell in a prison in North-East China, among the traditional back-breaking labour of breaking rocks and “whittling chopsticks and toothpicks from planks of wood”, the guards also made him and the other convicts play massively multiplayer games in twelve hour shifts, in the interest of selling the gold online. I’ve never bought MMORPG currency online, but I imagine if I had I’d currently be feeling quite ill.
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World Bank Estimates 100k Gold Farmers

A report over on the BBC website highlights research done by the World Bank on virtual economies. The report, which can be found here (PDF link, and full of other stuff about the virtual economy), suggests that gold and item farming in MMOs was worth $3bn in 2009, and employs up to 100,000 people in China and Vietnam. That’s a lot of virtual shoulder pads, eh?

It’s interesting that this stuff actually generally supports Western players’ predelictions to spend on virtual items (the report claiming that a quarter of MMO players spend money on virtual goods, although it’s not clear whether than includes free-to-play stuff as well as farmed stuff, I assumed it does) and whether the move to free-to-play will cause Chinese gold-farming to disappear again, as their activities become less profitable.

Op Fap Red River: Shifting Focus Trailer

How much man could a manshoot shoot if a manshoot could shoot man?

Here at RPS, we love the Chinese. Steam buns? Alright by us! The Great Wall? Heck of a wall, that. Mr. Miyagi? What a guy. But what if you hated the Chinese? Well, then I guess you’d get a kick out of the latest Operation Flashpoint: Red River trailer, which awaits you below and introduces the Chinese army as enemies. I want to go on the record as saying that while RPS will shoot the Chinese in Red River, we won’t enjoy it. Nuh-uh. Not one bit. Thanks to Bigdownload for the video.
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China Bans Foreign MMO Investment

The exploding MMO market in China is being cut off from Western economic influence as Chinese regulators ban foreign investment in virtual worlds. This Reuters report states that: “The new directive also disallows foreign firms from indirectly influencing Chinese gaming firms through agreements or technology support.” This is a move which presumably has something do with predictions that the Chinese MMO market will be worth $3.5-4 billion this year. I wonder what the ramifications of this will be for China’s game culture, and whether we’ll see them having a rather isolated and unusual MMO focus like South Korea has done in the past.

Spotted over on VG247.

China And The Future Of Gaming

In this latest guest post on RPS Chris “Evo” Evans looks at China, the net, its politics, and the future of censorship. Plenty of China-facts await.

It’s the most populous country. It’s record in freedom of speech is, to politely refrain from using the full range of ours, patchy. China’s net-censorship is amongst the worst in the world. They also really like their MMOs. They’re big on gold farming – the biggest, in fact. So there’s a lot we know about China, but we don’t often think how it all ties together. For the past twelve months, as part of my degree in Modern History and Politics, I have been living in a world of Chinese Whispers, writing a dissertation on Chinese Internet censorship. I didn’t have a chance to properly examine games, censorship and the Chinese Government during that project, and so I’m grasping the chance to do so now.

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CoH As “Persistent RTS”

1UP are reporting some interesting tactics by Relic to get into the piracy-warped Chinese games market with the most excellent Company Of Heroes. Apparently they intend to turn the game into an “’experience for online gamers where players will be able to build their character up from private to general through new multiplayer cooperative missions, gameplay modes, and player-versus-player combat’ in a persistent RTS. Presumably, they have a quirky pay-to-play plan to match.”

Presumably. Hard to know though, especially when most RTS games remain free and details are still pretty sketchy for Relic’s plan of attack. The persistent RTS has long sat just over the horizon for developers, and it’ll be interesting to see whether commercial pressures like this force it to happen.