Tencent Takes Majority Stake in League of Legends Developers

February 7, 2011 -

On late Friday, China-based Tencent Holdings announced that it had acquired a majority stake in Riot Games, makers of League of Legends - a DOTA-style online multiplayer game. Riot Games CEO Brandon Beck talked to Gamasutra about the deal extensively, revealing what his company expects to happen under the auspices of the Chinese company known for its diversified operations including instant messaging services, social networking, and online games. According to some reports, in 2010 Tencent held a 20 percent market share in the online games space.

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China: Parents Get Power Against Game Addiction

February 1, 2011 -

China, like Korea and other regions in the world, is trying to find ways to combat game addiction and what better way to do it then by letting parents take some control of the situation? Starting next month a new program called "parental watch project" will launch in China. It will require online gaming companies to provide parents access to a special call center and web site that lets parents monitor their children's activities online.

Besides the ability to monitor what their children are doing, parents will have a kill switch, allowing them to limit or ban their kids from online activities.

Child psychologists in the United States suggest that children should not have more than two hours of screen-time per day. The Ministry of Public Security says that children should only have about two hours of screen-time a week or spend more than $1.50 USD on online gaming services.

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China Beware: Android Apps May Contain Trojan

December 31, 2010 -

According to security firm Lookout, a Trojan called "Gemini" has been found in multiple games purchased via "third-party Chinese app stores." Apps such as Monkey Jump 2, Sex Positions, President vs. Aliens, City Defense and Baseball Superstars 2010 are affected, though only if purchased from a "third-party Chinese App Store." The original versions of the games from the Google Android Market are clean, according to the security firm.

"Though the intent of this Trojan isn't entirely clear, the possibilities range from setting up a malicious mobile ad network to creating an Android botnet," the company said.

While infected apps have yet to show up in other regions, Lookout warns that anything is possible:

"..possible infected apps could be posted to app stores targeting US users in the future," Lookout CTO Kevin Mahaffey noted.

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China GDC 2011 Call for Papers

December 29, 2010 -

Organizers of the China Game Developers Conference 2011 (July 28 – 30) alongside with the ChinaJoy Expo) have put out a "global call" for papers today. Developers, publishers and other industry professionals that would like to speak or present panels can submit proposals beginning today at 2011en.chinagdc.com.cn. Guidelines for submissions can be found in this PDF.

Topics should cover programming, art, game design, operation, management, security, testing, game audio and future game technologies. The speakers will receive VIP passes by the CGDC organizing committee, which will allow them entry into all of the sessions including the welcome reception. The deadline of submission is April 10, 2011.


Report: MMO Market to Reach $20 Billion in 2012

December 22, 2010 -

According to a new study by Arizona-based research firm ABI Research, the worldwide online gaming market will be worth slightly more than $20 billion in 2012. These revenues will be driven by demand in North American, European and Asia Pacific markets, and by new devices and technologies, the firm said.

The Asia-Pac region - most notably China - will be the "engine behind much of this growth." 

"According to industry analyst Michael Inouye, "World of Warcraft, for instance, generates significant revenue for Activision in Europe and North America on a subscription basis. But in China, despite a large ‘subscriber’ base, the revenues are far smaller: it's more of a pay-as-you-go model (prepaid game cards). This also creates a greater reliance on ‘cloud’ or server-based games."

 

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Senators Blast China on IP Enforcement

December 16, 2010 -

On Monday, two prominent U.S. Senators released a new government report (US International Trade Commission study) showing that "widespread counterfeiting and piracy in China" has had an impact on U.S. economic interests. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus and Senator Charles Grassley, who requested the report, are highlighting its findings because high-level US China trade talks are taking place this week in Washington.

"China continually fails to protect and enforce American intellectual property rights and discriminates against American businesses," Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus said in a statement that accompanied the report.

"Small steps and empty promises won't cut it when American jobs are on the line. This week's US China trade talks are the perfect opportunity for China to make serious commitments to address these issues. It is time for action," Baucus added.

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Wikileaks: U.S. Bags on North Korean Leader's Son for Gaming

December 9, 2010 -

One document leaked by Wikileaks (from the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai) shows that at least some in the U.S. State Department might have a dim view of gamers. Buried in a leaked cable entitled "SHANGHAI SCHOLARS EXPRESS CONCERN OVER DELAY IN SIX-PARTY" (September 2008 ) is an interesting evaluation of North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Il's three sons and a mention of video games.

Amidst the details on six-party talks, Kim Jong-Il's health, the benefits of removing North Korea from the State Sponsors of Terror list, and "future leaders" of the country, is a mention of KJI's youngest son and his fascination with video games:

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Report: Blizzard Dealt With Data Leak as Cataclysm Launched

December 8, 2010 -

While Blizzard was launching its biggest product of the year, behind the scenes it was having some serious problems with a data leak in China, according to a report on VentureBeat. According to that report, citing several news stories from MMOGameSite, Blizzard's release schedule and subscriber numbers were leaked from its China offices, and the general manager of the studio, Ye Weilun, was subsequently fired for it - allegedly.

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UBM Wins GDC China-Related Lawsuit

November 29, 2010 -

GDC China organizer UBM has finally won a lawsuit it filed in 2009 against the Publishers Association of China Game Publication Committee (CGPA) related to the annual Chinese game developers event.

CGPA and partner Beijing Howell International Trade Fair Co. Ltd, were accused in the lawsuit of unfair competition, false promotion, and commercial slander. The entities first worked together on GDC China 2007, but after a falling out CGPA and Howell decided to create a rival event with a similar name the following year called China Game Developers Conference. The companies also claimed to be the true organizer of the 2007 event, which did not sit well with UBM.

UBM further alleged that this rival event had attempted to block its members from participating in GDC China, and engaged in what it called "misleading promotion."

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Analyst: StarCraft II in Chinese Approval Pipeline

November 18, 2010 -

While we can’t find correlation anywhere, Cowen Group analyst Doug Creutz states in a research note that China’s NetEase has submitted Activision Blizzard’s StarCraft II to Chinese government authorities for approval.

In his note Creutz wrote that “Although the timing of governmental approval is (as always) uncertain, we believe the submission likely means a launch of 'Starcraft II' sometime in 2011.”

The analyst called this “welcome news,” as the game represents NetEase’s “next clear growth catalyst."

NetEase issued third quarter results today, reporting total revenues of RMB 1.4 billion (approximately $215.1 million) for the three-months ending September 30, versus total revenue of RMB 879.4 million in the same quarter one year earlier.

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China Telecom Copies the Wii with New Service

October 27, 2010 -

If you can't get the real thing, a knock-off will do. While consumers cannot officially buy a Wii or Xbox 360 in China because the government has blocked the sale of both systems in the region, Chinese companies are doing what they can to fill the entertainment gap. China Telecom has started offering a Wii-style gaming service under the auspices of its Internet Protocol television (IPTV) subscription package.

Called "Tigan Youxi" (Somatic Gaming in English) the console offers motion-sensing controllers much like Nintendo's to give TV gamers some fun distractions. China Telecom showed off the console earlier this month at an exhibit in Beijing, where users could play a simple Ping Pong game.

The "console" is not stand-alone, sadly; it is an add-on to the IPTV services, and is not meant to compete with other consoles. The company is offering the gaming service in provinces located in southern China, where its IPTV services are available.

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Chinese Game Pits Vendors Against Authorities

October 26, 2010 -

The tense, often bloody relationship between Chinese law enforcement and street vendors has led to the creation of a free downloadable game inspired by that confrontational environment.

Hawker War City Management appears to be the name of the title, and, according to a piece on the game on TheWorld.org website, the downloadable title features plenty of social commentary, designed to highlight the plight of common citizens “left outside in the cold as China’s economy grows.”

Correspondent Mary Kay Magistad offered this description of the game:

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Huge Piracy Ring Smashed in Taiwan

October 21, 2010 -

A seven-month long investigation culminated in members of Taiwan’s Intellectual Property Rights Police Team arresting four individuals believed to be responsible for a hefty videogame piracy ring operating in Taiwan and China.

The investigation resulted in the September 27 raid of a warehouse in Sanchong City, Taiwan, where 140,000 pirated game discs for the PlayStation 2, Wii and Xbox were discovered, reports Focus Taiwan. The value of the seizure was estimated to be over $8 million U.S.

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Research: Chinese Gamers Sick of MMOs

October 5, 2010 -

Chinese gamers are apparently getting sick of the thousands of me-too MMORPGs on the market and are shifting towards more casual online offerings. That is what research firm and Chinese market analyst Niko Partners says, anyway. A new report from the firm says that gamers in the region are shifting away from hardcore MMOs in favor of casual games. This shift is driven by the monotony of the games on offer in China.

"We believe that the Chinese market has taken up SNS (social networking site) gaming in earnest, and that the hard-core gamers have shifted their preferences to include these games alongside the casual gamers who naturally appreciate them, " Niko Partners' Lisa Cosmas Hanson told GamesIndustry.biz.

"The hardcore gamers are growing weary of the monotony of themes in the Chinese MMORPGs, and they want to extend their social interactions to games that attract a more diverse user base. People want to play games that enable them to have something to bond over when chatting with schoolmates or colleagues at the water cooler. "

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GDC China 2010 Registration Opens

September 15, 2010 -

Registration is now open for the 2010 Game Developers Conference China, should you want to make the trek to China on December 5. Now in its 3rd year, GDC China offers game developers in China various panels, and lectures from local talent and international talent.

Bill Roper from Cryptic Studios will deliver this year's keynote address, speaking out about his time working for Blizzard Entertainment and Flagship Studios. The event will also feature the second annual Independent Games Festival China, highlighting the best games from the region's independent game development community. The three-day event will take place December 5-7, 2010 at Shanghai International Convention Center in Shanghai, China.

GDC China offers a 25 percent discount is available on registrations before November 5. Online registration ends on November 30. For more information about the event, check out www.gdcchina.com.


China’s Shanda Buys Korean Developer, Links up with CNTV

September 9, 2010 -

Chinese online game operator and developer Shanda Games is apparently enjoying the fruits of operating in a near recession proof industry, as it has snatched up a Korean developer and entered into an alliance with China Network Television (CNTV).

Shanda announced its intention to gobble up Eyedentity Games for around $95 million U.S. Eyedentity was described as “a private developer of online games with over 100 game developers.” Its latest game, Dragon’s Nest, was released around the world and  billed as being “one of the most successful new online games in China this year.”

Shanda said that the deal would strengthen its international presence.

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MS Exec: Kinect Could Help 360 Get to Market in China

September 1, 2010 -

As Microsoft continues to try and get its Xbox 360 to market in China, an executive for the company outlined why Kinect may be a valuable asset in its push and how MS plans to combat piracy in the Asian country.

Simon Leung (pictured), Microsoft Corporate Vice President, Chairman and CEO for the Greater China region, speaking to the Wall Street Journal, first noted why China is such an attractive region, if it wasn’t already apparent, stating that China would soon be the world’s largest PC market, while it's already tops in the mobile phone and broadband categories.

Leung indicated that China is becoming a growing adopter of cloud computing, which could help protect Microsoft, as Leung stated, “… you cannot pirate a cloud application.”

Asked about selling consoles in China, Leung responded:

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Lenovo Planning Console for non-Hardcore Chinese Gamers

August 27, 2010 -

Computer maker Lenovo has established a new company as part of a push to make its own videogame console.

Beijing eedoo Technology Ltd. will oversee development of an internally developed Lenovo console named eBox, reports the Wall Street Journal. Planned for release in China by the end of this year, the eBox will be “compatible” with high-definition televisions and allow users to download content from the Internet. Users will be able to interact with the device by using a camera.

eedoo plans to launch the console in China first, since “regulations of game consoles are murky and rampant piracy poses a big challenge for console game sales.”

China Daily, which features a pair of concept drawings of the product, reports that the eedoo team consists of some 40 software engineers. Pricing for the eBox is expected to be “slightly lower” than that of the Xbox 360.

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Chinese Gamers to Feel Lich King Wrath at Month’s End

August 24, 2010 -

Blizzard and Chinese game operator Net Ease will officially launch the World of Warcraft expansion Wrath of the Lich King just a few short weeks after it was finally approved in the Asian country.

According to a joint press release from Blizzard and Net Ease, the expansion will go live in mainland China on August 31, almost two years after it was launched (November 2008) in Europe and North America.

Net Ease CEO William Ding stated, “We are fully prepared on all fronts to provide great service and support to all of the new and returning players throughout China, and we look forward to welcoming them to Northrend.”

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Youth Study: Games Good for Mental Health, Bad for Academics

August 23, 2010 -

A study of 626 Honk Kong Chinese students, who averaged about 10 years old, indicated that while playing massively multiplayer online games appears to contribute to a kid’s psychological well-being, overall time spent playing computer games had a negative correlation with their academic performance.

Dr. Angel Nga-man Leung and Prof. Catherine McBride (pictured) from the Chinese University of Hong Kong's Department of Psychology carried out the study (PDF), which indicated that students spent 67 minutes per day, on average, playing MMOs, 44 minutes on solitary computer games, 44 minutes per day using handheld games and 31 minutes a day playing home video consoles. In gender specific results, boys played more minutes per day in each category when compared to their female counterparts.

The students were also asked to compare their real-life friends against friends from their online games. The results caused the researchers to declare:

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Myopia Rises in Honk Kong Youth, Games Share Blame

August 23, 2010 -

A study undertaken by researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong indicates that near-sightedness (myopia) has increased significantly over a 10-year period in the youth of that region, and handheld videogames were given most of the blame.

The study was actually carried out between 2006 and 2007 and involved over 800 kids between the ages of two and six. Results were then compared to a similar study undertaken in 1996. It was reported that the number of cases of near-sightedness rose from 157 kids to 222, and that the number of children wearing glasses rose from 2.3 percent in the older study to 6.3 percent in the newer one.

Dennis Lam Shun-chiu, Chairman of the school’s Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences pinned the blame on “playing video games - especially in moving vehicles - and watching television or using a computer for a long time and sitting too close to screens…” according to The Standard.

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Foxconn Implements Work-Friendly Changes

August 18, 2010 -

It was a different scene today at the Shenzhen, China-based Foxconn plant, which employs over 300,000 workers who assemble everything from iPhones to video game accessories. Today Foxconn held a rally designed to promote living and loving life and to generally boost the morale of workers - who only a few months ago were as unhappy as a worker can be in a plant that expects the average employee to work 80 hours of overtime a week.

Just a few months ago morale was so low that more than a dozen employees committed suicide, prompting the company to install safety nets on the top of its buildings. But more importantly, it made the company face the reality that productivity has to be balanced with the well being of its employees.

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Skulls Removed, Blood Changed for Chinese Lich King

August 17, 2010 -

While the Chinese Ministry of Culture finally gave the go-ahead for the not-too-distant release of the World of Warcraft expansion Wrath of the Lich King, a taste of some changes Blizzard had to make to models in the game are detailed on a website dedicated to Chinese gaming.

A handful of images appearing on ChinaGame.178.com show the removal of mostly skulls and bones from models in the approved version. Another image also appears to indicate that sprites used to animate blood loss and/or splattering were changed from red to green.

In the images below, original models are on the left while the purported Chinese-approved modifications are on the right.

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China: Lich King Approved, EA Mulling Investment?

August 10, 2010 -

China’s Ministry of Culture has finally given its approval (translated) to the World of Warcraft expansion Wrath of the Lich King, almost two full years after it was released in other parts of the world.

A PC World story notes that the expansion had already been deemed worthy of release last month by China’s General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP). Chinese World of Warcraft operator Net Ease said it would soon release a formal announcement about Wrath of the Lich King, with company spokesperson Liddy Li stating, “We have always been preparing for its release, but there has been no formal announcement yet.”

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MS Still Lobbying to Sell Consoles in China

August 9, 2010 -

While Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is made in China, it still isn’t available for legal purchase there, nor is Sony’s PlayStation 3 or Nintendo’s Wii, but the Redmond, Washington-based company isn’t giving up hope.

Microsoft executive Zhang Yaqin told the Shanghai Daily (subscription only) that the company still hopes to receive approval to sell the 360 in China, but that “… it all depends on the government.” There’s still no set timetable for launch and the issue involves “several government bureaus,” which, of course, only adds multiple layers of bureaucracy.

Last month, Kotaku investigated why game consoles are banned in China. A Niko Partners researcher told the publication, “The government thought that was the best way to protect Chinese youth from wasting their minds on video games, after a parental outcry.”

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Government Backed Chinese Game Con Boasts "Columns of Girls"

August 4, 2010 -

While a ban that outlaws titillating Internet-based ads for online games went into effect in China on August 1, the edict had no impact on sexy promotions at a recently completed Chinese game expo.

The China Digital Entertainment Expo & Conference, known as ChinaJoy, ran from July 29 through August 1 and is backed by a slew of Chinese government agencies, including the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP), the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Industrial and Information Technology and the National Copyright Bureau.

The involvement of so many government entities did little to hinder the employment of “columns of Chinese girls in white boots and miniskirts,” at the show, according to a story on Canada.com. The website described some of the action:

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Chinese MMO Creator Buys into TV & Film Businesses

July 29, 2010 -

Beijing-based Perfect World Co. Ltd., an online game operator and developer with titles such as Legend of Martial Arts, Perfect World, Chi Bi and Hot Dance Party, has made investments into two fellow Chinese media companies.

Perfect World will dump 110 million yuan (approximately $16.2 million U.S.) into Beijing Xinbaoyuan Movie & TV Investment Co., Ltd. and an additional 82.3 million yuan (approximately $12.1 million U.S.) into Shanghai Baohong Entertainment and Media Co., Ltd. Both investments were described as majority stakes for the game company.

Both Xinbaoyuan and Baohong—headed up by “renowned” director Zhao Baogang—were labeled as “engaged in the film and television program production and distribution business.” Xinbaoyuan also operates an entertainment agency business, representing over 20 Chinese celebrities.

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China Caves, Promises to Open Entertainment Market by 2011

July 27, 2010 -

Finally reacting to a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling from last year, which denied its attempt to limit foreign media imports in order to protect “public morals,” China has now acquiesced to opening its entertainment goods market by March 19, 2011.

A Reuters story noted that the WTO did not question the right of Chinese officials to censor content, but argued that they “could not use censorship to justify illegal trade barriers,” an argument which the WTO now appears to have won. It was previously stated that that the removal of Chinese restrictions to import would, “be a boon to Western makers of movies, music and video games who currently face extra costs and obstructions to distribute in China.”

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Chinese Game Offers Inflatable Doll as Award

July 8, 2010 -

Just as China attempts to clean up the image and operations of its online game operators, one online game appears to be offering an inflatable doll as a grand prize.

Via SooToo.com (translated) we learn about the bizarre offering (pictured) being dangled in front of players of the game called War Hero Online (or perhaps it’s called God of War Undefeated). No amount of searching or translation could offer any clues on what the player would have to accomplish in order to win such a prize.

If you were interested in the history of inflatable dolls, the SooToo article kindly provides some background on that subject as well.


Via MicGadget

4 comments

China Bans "Vulgar" Game Adverts

July 8, 2010 -

China’s Ministry of Culture has grown weary of online game companies using vulgar, violent or profane tactics in order to lure consumers to purchase their titles, so it has banned the practice.

The BBC reports that, beginning next month, Chinese officials will be able to force website owners to delete any vulgar content employed in online promotions. Supposedly, one model named Shou Shou (pictured), who was recently embroiled in a sex video controversy, was asked to promote a role-playing game while another unnamed Japanese adult film star was being used to draw attention to the Game Warrior OL.

 “Social commentators” worried that the practice, though not illegal at the time, could “undermine the public's morals. “

The BBC added that, “The new policy has been covered widely in the state-controlled media and on websites here, accompanied of course by photos of the same scantily clad models who have upset the bureaucrats.” Who are we to break ranks?

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NeenekoI would hope not. Though it is not unheard of for store specific cards to be pretty good.07/30/2014 - 8:17am
E. Zachary KnightDoes anyone, or at least any intelligent person, expect a retail branded credit card to be anything close to resembling a "good deal" on interest rates?07/30/2014 - 7:13am
SleakerGamestop articles popping up everywhere about their ludicrous new Credit card offerings at a whopping pre-approval for 26.9% APR07/29/2014 - 10:19pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/07/podcasting-patent-troll-we-tried-to-drop-lawsuit-against-adam-carolla/ the podcasting patent troll scum is trying to turn tail and run.07/29/2014 - 9:50pm
MaskedPixelanteOf course it's improved. At launch, Origin was scanning your entire hard drive, but now it's just scanning your browsing history. If that's not an improvement, I dunno what is!07/29/2014 - 8:59pm
Papa Midnighthttp://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/video-games/columns/experienced-points/12029-Has-EAs-Origin-Service-Improved-Any-Over-the-Last-Two-Years07/29/2014 - 8:25pm
Sora-ChanSo it's just a matter of having better emulation software. If it can be done with a 3DS game, with all the memory and what not it takes up, it can be done with a GBA title through emulation.07/29/2014 - 7:30pm
Sora-ChanOther VC titles for the NES and Gameboy had the same setup where you couldn't access the homescreen without quitting out of the game til a later update when those games were released for the public outside of the founder program.07/29/2014 - 7:28pm
Sora-Chanthe 3DS can, and does, run GBA games, as seen by the founder gifts, which included a number of GBA titles. As for running GBA games and still having access to the home screen, I beleive it's more of the game emulation software needs to be updated.07/29/2014 - 7:27pm
Matthew Wilsonthe 3ds already swaps os's with the original ds. plus I dont think people expect miverse interaction when playing a gba game.07/29/2014 - 6:06pm
MaskedPixelanteBut that's not the issue, the 3DS is perfectly capable of emulating GBA games. The problem is that it doesn't have enough available system resources to run it alongside the 3DS OS, and thus it doesn't have access to stuff like Miiverse and save states.07/29/2014 - 5:45pm
Matthew WilsonI am well aware that it requires more power, but if a GBA emulator could run well on a original psp, than it should work on a 3ds.07/29/2014 - 5:36pm
ZenThe reason the SNES could run Gameboy, or the Gamecube could run GBA was because their adapters included all of the necessary hardware to do it in the respective add-ons. The systems were just conduits for control inputs and video/sound/power.07/29/2014 - 4:51pm
ZenMatthew: Emulation takes more power than people realize to run a game properly. You can make something run on less, but Nintendo...as slow as they are at releasing them..makes them run as close to 100% as possible. Each game has its own emulator for it.07/29/2014 - 4:47pm
Matthew Wilsonkind of hard to believe since the 3ds is atleast as powerful as the gamecube hardware wise.07/29/2014 - 4:27pm
MaskedPixelanteYes, the 3DS has enough power to run 16-bit emulators, but not at the same time it's running the 3DS systems themselves. You could run the games, but you wouldn't get save states or Miiverse.07/29/2014 - 4:04pm
InfophileRunning GBA on 3DS shouldn't be hard. The DS had flashcarts sold for it that added just enough power to emulate GBA and SNES games, so the 3DS should have more than enough natively.07/29/2014 - 3:37pm
MaskedPixelanteIt's a bunch of people whining about boycotting/pirating Trails in the Sky FC because XSEED didn't license the Japanese dub track, which consists of about 10 lines per character.07/29/2014 - 11:27am
Sleaker@MP - devolver Digital issued a twitter statement saying they would replace the NISA pledge.07/29/2014 - 10:57am
E. Zachary KnightIs that a discussion about RIAA member music labels?07/29/2014 - 10:48am
 

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