This week I went to the Online Gaming China 2006 conference in the Renaissance Pudong hotel in
Gaming started in
The demographics of
According to Julien Le Bigot from Ubisoft, the trend in
The president of Tose Software (the world’s largest outsourcing game developer, with 220 staff in China in 2 locations), Mr. Shigeru Chigusa, sees a trend towards offline-zation of online games (basically, creating version for consoles with online capabilities) and online-zation of console games (publishing existing titles as online games, with new features such as item sales and in-game advertising). These strategies can continue and expand the franchise of games that companies put a lot of money into already.
Consoles are still not used a lot in
John Lee, managing director global publishing of NCsoft, discussed some of the common mistakes in localization. According to him a lot of localization is based on people reading every book and article about
Monte Singman, CEO of Radiance Digital Entertainment, also touched upon this. He talked about the “me too, but better” titles. There are too many of these games that build on existing games ideas and add some more features. These titles might do well in the beginning, but will level off very soon. The problem is that many game developers are afraid of innovation, they feel innovation will be punished. In that case a good strategy could be to license well-known characters (Disney, Ronald McDonald) or use licenses with a buzz (e.g. movie titles).
Mr. Singman then showed a chart of Chinese players’ behaviour, which I found very interesting. The question was what the main attraction of a game was for gamers. Surprisingly the most important (16.4%) was to meet new friends! After that several game-related answers followed (15.6% wants to get special game items, 11.5% wants to accomplish missions), but there were two other things that stood out for me. About 8% sees the main attraction of a game to chat with others, and another 8% wants to form groups in a game. Some games (e.g. by Shanda) follow this trend by giving people the option to get married and adopt a kid in their game. So 1/3 of all gamers choose a game or game platform mainly because they can socialize in it.
In a speech by Travis Beaven of UIEvolution, he discussed among others the trend for Web 2.0 features in games. Basically, user-generated content such as in virtual worlds like Second Life, but then for online games. He argues to give users the tools to make new levels in games, or to create new missions. Why? Gamers know much better what they want to see in games than the developers.
Most discussions during the 2-day event also touched upon mobile games. The audience agreed that mobile gaming will be big in
China Online Gaming 2006 was the first conference in
(cross-posted on marketingfacts.nl in Dutch)