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:
According to a report from Xinhuanet (as reported on by Shanghaiist), the Chinese government is developing its own set of criteria for early diagnosis of online game addiction in young people. Chinese authorities announced plans on Sunday to develop "China-specific criteria" for diagnosing and treating online gaming addiction in minors.
Earlier this week we reported that the Chinese government was considering lifting a 13-year ban on game consoles in the country. While there's plenty of black market devices and software for Chinese consumers, there's no way to legally buy a PS3, Xbox 360, or Nintendo device in the country. The story from a few days ago was based on a China Daily report that quoted an anonymous source inside the Ministry of Culture.
Citing a government source, the 13-year-old ban of consoles in China may be coming to an end. According to sources cites by China Daily the seven Chinese government ministries that banned the sale of consoles in the country in 2000 are opening up discussions on allowing them to be sold to Chinese citizens.
According to All Things D, Apple has secured the regulatory approvals it needs from China to bring the iPhone 5 to the region, and this morning the company announced a release date for the phone: Dec. 14. Apple will launch the iPhone 5 after it launches the Wi-Fi versions of the iPad Mini and its fourth-generation iPad on Dec. 7
Sony released the PlayStation 3 on November 11, 2006 in Japan; in North America on November 17, 2006; and in Europe, Australia, the Middle East, Africa and New Zealand on March 23, 2007. China never got access to the system because the Chinese government didn't approve it for sale in the region. Nearly seven years later it looks like Chinese gamers finally have some hope of playing PlayStation 3 titles legally.
It looks like Foxconn is going to "take one for the team" in the controversy over under-age interns working at its factory in Yantai, China. This is the plant where Nintendo's Wii U is reportedly being put together, so Nintendo is very concerned about any public perceptions that it finds breaking China's labor laws concerning under-age workers acceptable.
Earlier this week we reported that Foxconn - the company that helps build many of the products that are popular in the West from companies like Apple, Sony, Samsung, Microsoft and Nintendo - reported that it found underage interns working in one of its plants in Yantai, China. Today we have learned that that plant is responsible for assembling Nintendo products.
The Associated Press (by way of syndication in the pages of Time's Techland) reports that China-based electronics manufacturer Foxconn has admitted that underage workers are part of its massive work force in the country. Foxconn, which has had a hard time this month keeping production flowing at its plants due to riots and labor disputes, assembles a variety of electronics for Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and others.
A new game called In a Permanent Save State is set to release on Friday (October 12) on iTunes. The makers of the game hope to bring attention to the fact that several workers at China's Foxconn plants committed suicide and that their lives were inexplicably affected negatively by the Western demand for hi-tech gadgets like iPhones and Foxconn's drive to use workers to meet quotas - at any cost. The game will be released in conjunction with a downtown art exhibition in Reno, Nevada and a live orchestrated play through of the game, according to Benjamin Poynter.
According to this GamesIndustry International report, thousands of Foxconn employees continue to protest at various locations in China. The labor strike is the result of complaints about working conditions, which workers say have not been adequately addressed by the company. In case you have forgotten Foxconn helps build a variety of high end electronics for multiple companies including Apple, Samsung, Microsoft and many others.
While Apple is celebrating the fact that it sold five million units of its iPhone 5 phone in three days since launch, the owners of the plant that make the device are not celebrating very much today as chaos and riots take all of its production offline.
The following faux game commercial is over-the-top but admittedly funny in an ironic sort of way. The commercial is for "the greatest real time strategy game never made; Chinese Electronics Factory Worker: The Game!"
The best and most cringe inducing quote from the video is when the young boy playing the game proclaims:
"Exploiting Chinese Workers is awesome!"
Watch the video to your left. Thanks to Jamie Stanton for sending us the video link.
Here's a scary story from the BBC describing the nefarious goings-on at some PC manufacturers where malware is being installed on PC's on the production lines. The startling news comes from a new report from Microsoft.
ArenaNet has inked a deal with KongZhong Corporation to bring its popular and recently launched online RPG Guild Wars 2 to mainland China. The partnership is also apparently one of the biggest licensing transactions for a Western game in the Chinese marketplace. Under the terms of the licensing deal, ArenaNet has the option to buy up to 40 million of KongZhong Corporation's ordinary shares after the commercial launch of Guild Wars 2 in the region.
While some hay is being made over the United Nations' International Telecommunication Union meeting in Dubai in December, most believe it is much ado about nothing. The way the Internet is regulated internationally will face a review in December, but the United States is already pointing out a number of changes that it will absolutely not allow under any circumstances. The regulations under review are from 1988.