Sunday, October 31, 2010

A familiar city, Guangzhou tourism prospers

I giddily explored not just the cities around China for a year, but many throughout Southeast Asia. One of my more favorite cities was Guangzhou, just north of the city I lived for a year, Shenzhen. Guangzhou had it's special charm, partly because it provided just about everything else Shenzhen didn't.

I came across news recently about the city increasing in tourism and recreational activities. One particular is the new Asian Para Games. It is a multi-sport event held every four years after every Asian Games for athletes with physical disabilities. The city is also building a new convention center for this purpose.

Not only that, but the city is also specifically building a recreational park that caters to the high tech industry. In that park will feature numerous Internet cafes and electronic stores that focus heavily on gaming. Best Buy may even make an appearance in the next few years... it already has a store in Beijing and Shanghai.

I'm not only happy to see that a city I enjoyed visiting frequently is doing so well, but that it is pushing China's frontier in electronics and gaming, not to mention good social policies. I can't wait to revisit in the next few years and participate in one of the inevitable gaming tournaments that will surely sprout up!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Chinese gamers growing "weary of the monotony" of MMORPGs

I found this blog post at quite interesting in terms of the social shifts we're seeing all across the world in what games player's are going after. No longer are even the Asian's content with drawn out and repetitive hardcore MMOs, once the bedrock of their gaming cafes and internet parlors.

The question I have is, how long will they last in the often even more repetitive casual market? Unless casual games change their tune, we'll see a demand for games that may start leaning more towards user-generated content than ever before. Anything to inject fresh content into games on a regular basis.

A report by Chinese market analyst Niko Partners believes that the country's gamers are shifting from hardcore MMOs towards a more casual experience, driven buy the "monotony of themes" and a need to engage with a wider variety of users.

Niko Partners, which specialises in analysis of the Chinese videogames market, believes that the casual sector will account for 30 per cent of all online gaming revenues in China by 2014, making it worth $3 billion (£1.89bn) a year.

Currently, Niko values the Chinese market at $3.8 billion (£2.4bn) a year, with casual gamers making up 23 per cent of that market. By 2014, Niko Partners expects there to be 141 million online gamers 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

"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."

Sunday, October 3, 2010

NetEase dominates Chinese online games providers

China is the world's largest market for Internet users by far (what market isn't the largest in China nowadays). Online game sales in China rose just over 30 percent to 27 billion Yuan last year, according to Shanghai-based IResearch.

NetEase is China's third-largest online games provider, soon to be second according to many analysts. NetEase provides games such as "Heroes of Tang Dynasty", a growing interest in many other Asian countries, and possibly soon in the West.

What's astonishing is the percentage of Western online games in China's market. For example, World of Warcraft accounted for almost 30 percent of NetEases's sales earlier this year, marketing the largest percentage by far for any single game.

American and Chinese game companies are working closer together than ever before. It was announced earlier this year that NetEase will be partnering with Microsoft in MSN's China operation, investing heavily in China's online game industry.

Microsoft wants to continue to push PC gaming, just as much as it has with console gaming in recent years. "The PC isn't dead" has been heard many times from them. Perhaps investing in China's PC dominated industry, is a step in this direction.

NetEase reference: