A few weeks ago we reported on the copious restrictions China has imposed on video game makers wanting to sell their wares in the country now that the console ban has gone bye-bye.
Spicy Horse founder American McGee has written an interesting list on Facebook explaining why he thinks the Xbox One will not be successful in China when it is released in the region this September. Earlier this week Microsoft announced that its latest console would finally be available to the lucrative Chinese gaming market, but McGee has lots of doubts that the console can be successful in a market dominated by free-to-play mobile and PC games and a thriving gray market.
Microsoft and BesTV (its partner in China) announced that the Xbox One will officially launch in China in September of this year. China lifted a 14-year ban on the sale of foreign game consoles in January, opening up the market to the likes of Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. But it seems that only Microsoft has taken the initiative to get its latest console in the hands of Chinese consumers.
The systems will be manufactured within the country - one of the many stipulations that Chinese government put in place for console makers who want to do business in the region.
Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. and NetEase have inked an agreement to license Blizzard Entertainment's Heroes of the Storm to a NetEase-affiliate in mainland China for a term of three years. Heroes of the Storm is Blizzard's upcoming free-to-play, online team brawler featuring heroes from more than 20 years of Blizzard gaming history. Gamers will be able to play some of their favorite characters from the Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo universes, and team up with friends to battle other teams online.
Late last year the Chinese government said that it would lift the ban on home consoles in the country and created Shanghai Free Trade Zone so that foreign firms could set up operations to manufacture systems within the country. This was one of the conditions that the Chinese government put on companies that wanted to sell home consoles within the region. Foreign companies that make consoles in Shanghai's free trade zone and sell them in China will first have to get inspected by various cultural departments.
Chinese internet juggernaut Tencent has inked a deal with King to bring its popular Candy Crush Saga game to China. The Chinese version of the Candy Crush Saga game will be available by the middle of 2014 to customers of Tencent's Mobile QQ and Weixin Game Centers.
The alliance will help Tencent, China's biggest internet firm, attract more users to its online and mobile services. It's a good deal for King too, who will get their game exposed to the country's estimated 618 million internet users.
A QQ Games report on a BesTV earnings call this week reveals that the firm expects to sell Xbox One units in China. During its earnings call BesTV, a Chinese media giant that Microsoft partnered with to jump into the country's emerging console market, said that it would sell 100,000 units in China, where it is scheduled to launch in July.
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.