Chinese online game company Giant Interactive Group Inc. (also known as Giant Interactive has become a private company again, thanks to a buyout deal involving the company's Chairman and two investment firms. The company has been publicly traded for seven years. The deal was led by company chairman Shi Yuzhu and included investments from Hony Capital and Baring Private Equity Asia.
Chinese telecomm ZTE Corp. is apparently in a joint venture with Chinese game developer The9 Ltd. to build a new console for the Chinese market, according to a Bloomberg report. When grilled by Bloomberg about the new console, a representative from ZTE Corp. confirmed that its Fun Box game console will be released this month, will be powered by an Nvidia Tegra 4 chip, feature 2GB of RAM, and feature Bluetooth-enabled game controllers.
A change in commercial advertising regulations in China related to video games is in full effect, though as this Kotaku report points out, it is a solution for a problem that doesn't really exist.
Blizzard launched the beta test of Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft this week, even as it prepared to sue a copycat game running on iOS and Android being served to gamers in China.
According to MMO Culture, Blizzard and its partner in the region NetEase have filed a lawsuit in China's courts alleging that the iOS and Android game Legend of Crouching Dragon seems to have borrowed core elements from Hearthstone including its card designs, values and game mechanics.
While it's not much to look at, a game simply known as "Fight Corruption" has grabbed the attention of hundreds of thousands of gamers in mainland China, according to independent (New York-based) Chinese media outlet, NTD TV.
While the Chinese government announced last week that it would temporarily lift a 14 year ban on consoles within the region, the rules the country's culture ministries will put in place will make it hard for Chinese gamers to play anything that might be found by government censors to be offensive or culturally unacceptable. What is and isn't offense or culturally acceptable to the Chinese government is unknown because the rules haven't been written yet.
China has officially lifted the ban on selling consoles, though the measure is temporary it seems, according to the BBC. China banned the sale of home video game consoles in 2000, saying that it did so because it had an adverse affect on the mental health of the country's youth.
China's video game industry brought in an estimated $13 billion in revenue in 2013, a 34 percent increase over revenue of $9.7 billion generated in 2011. That figure comes from the China Games Party, a committee that oversees the games industry in the region. The figures were unveiled at the recent China Game Industry Annual Conference. According to the data, client-based PC games represented more than 64.5 percent of revenue totaling approximately $8.7 billion, while browser-based games brought in $2 billion, and social games raked in less than $1 billion.
It should come as no shock that the Chinese government has banned Battlefield 4 - not that it ultimately matters to publisher Electronic Arts - the game isn't available in the region anyway. Earlier in the month the military criticized the unreleased DLC "China Rising," saying that it put the country in a bad light.
According to Kotaku, late last week ten men in China were sentenced to two years in prison (each) and fined for their part in hacking World of Warcraft accounts. The sentencing took place in Zhejiang province's Songyang county court (China).
The CEO of a major Chinese corporation has hinted that the Xbox One will be available in China next year. Luo Jiangchun, CEO of online video service Funshion, said during a marketing and advertising strategy meeting last week that the Xbox One would be available in China in 2014, according to Chinese tech site Sohu IT (as uncovered by this Kotaku report).
Rain Blood Chronicles: Mirage has launched on Steam this week and is discounted to $9.99 until Nov. 18. This particular game is unique because it is one of the few games imported from China that isn't a free-to-play MMO game. Developed by ORiGO GAMES, Mirage is a "Wuxia" (which means "Martial Hero") story that pays homage to a broad genre of Chinese fiction concerning the adventures of martial artists.
Several new reports from research firm Niko Partners reveals that China's gaming population is mostly made up of PC gamers and mobile players. According to data from two reports, the "Chinese Gamers Report 2013," and the "Quarterly Home Gamer Survey and Monthly I-café Games Usage Data," China has 208 million PC gamers and 288 million mobile game players this year.
Trion Worlds' MMORPG Rift Online continues to have setbacks in Asian countries, with another operator of the game announcing that it will shut down the game. Today Shanda Games revealed that it will shut down the Rift Online service it operates in China. The company was pretty vague about why it was shutting down the game, only stating that it had "several reasons" for doing so.
The Korean version of the game was shut down in April of this year and Trion Worlds recently closed studios in San Diego and Europe.
On Thursday the People's Liberation Army (PLA) released a video game commemorating the founding of the powerful group developed by Giant Interactive Group. The game (revealed by this Reuters report) is called Glorious Mission Online and lets players put on the uniform of the PLA as it defends contested islands in the East China Sea called "Diaoyu" by the Chinese and "Senkaku" by the Japanese.
According to this Reuters report, the Taiwanese company Pegatron Corp. is being accused of forced overtime, low wages and the use of underage workers. Pegatron is one of several companies that works in Apple's supply chain for various iOS devices. So who is accusing the company of such horrendous practices?
A Chinese man thought it would be a good idea to forge government documents as a means to regain control of his online account for a MOBA game, according to Wenzhou Online. The Hangzhou, Zhejiang province resident, identified in the report only as "Zou," contacted the makers of the MOBA game Dream Three Kingdoms Online (Hangzhou Dianhun) asking it to reset the login and password after he was locked out of his account.
According to the South China Morning Post, the Chinese government is preparing to lift the 13 year long ban on game consoles in the region. Such a move would be good for the industry, but first console makers such as Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft would have to kowtow to the demands of the government. Apparently efforts to eliminate the ban are strongly supported by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
Hearing about the youth of China selling their vital organs for something stupid is nothing new, but apparently the trend continues... Kotaku (by way of Tencent) reports that an 18-year-old Chinese man surnamed Zhang from the Gangsu province has sold his kidney. Zhang had to find a way to pay down some debt he apparently amassed while playing "video games" according to the Chinese press.
PC and tablet maker Lenevo is diversifying its business with a new gaming service for China called Lenovo Game World, Bloomberg reports. These new game services will include social networking features, software reviews, and gameplay tips.
Some game developers in China are known for taking liberties with copyrighted material (read: ignoring copyrights altogether), but a MOBA-style game called 300 Heroes pointed out by Crusader Cast is probably the most blatant mash-ups of stolen material you'll ever see.
The Chinese military publicly released a shooter a few months ago called Glorious Mission and it has proven to be a hit - according to this BBC report. The game, which is obviously pro-Chinese military because it was designed initially as a sort of training tool for soldiers in the Communist country, has been downloaded more than a million times.
Gu Kai, vice-president of the software developers behind the game, Giant Network Technology, says this game will likely help bring in new army recruits.
During GDC last week in San Francisco research firms NPD, iResearch and Digi-Capital held a talk on digital games sales and revealed some interesting numbers on the space. According to data revealed during the event, digital game and downloadable content sales are growing at a rate of 33 percent year over year in the United States and Europe, while spending in China is expected to grow 10 percent annually for the next three years. Asia is going to be the most dominate region in the world when it comes to online and mobile games by 2016, according to the speakers.
Every year rights holders get to offer their input in the U.S. Trade Representative’s Special 301 report, identifying piracy sites and offering recommendations on how best to combat piracy both online and offline. In a special letter, Wii, Wii U and 3DS maker Nintendo offers its two cents on the issue. First, Nintendo points out that it is suffering major losses at the hands of online piracy: