Vietnam Using Games to Lure Users to State-Owned Social Website

Vietnam has been implementing a series of measures aimed at attempting to curb what it believes is an overenthusiastic reliance on online gaming, but it isn’t above using games to lure the populace to a new government-backed Facebook competitor.

The state-owned Vietnam Multimedia Corp. launched a beta version of a social networking website called earlier this year. As detailed by the Wall Street Journal, the website requires prospective users to register using full names and government-issued identity numbers.

To help lure younger Vietnamese, the site features “several state-approved videogames, including a violent multiplayer contest featuring a band of militants bent on stopping the spread of global capitalism.”

The Journal piece mentions a university student named Pham Thanh Cong, who was waiting for “his turn to play an online shoot-’em-up game at a street-side Internet café.” When asked about, Cong replied, “I didn’t even know it existed.”

Cong is just the type of user that the site wants to attract, as explined by Vietnam Multimedia’s Vice Director Phan Anh Tuan, who said that “he hopes the site will gain a mass following among the country’s hordes of videogame enthusiasts by offering cheap, easy access to some of their favorite games.”

The country had previously banned all media ads for online games, forced Internet Cafes to stop offering game services between 11PM and 6AM every day and proposed limiting gamers to three hours of playtime (for particular games) per day.

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