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Jennings: Western MMOs and China

Posted Jan 13, 2010 by Jon Wood

Jennings: Western MMOs and China columnist Scott Jennings responds to news this week that Google will be pulling out of China by taking a look at the western MMO industry's relationship with our friends in the East.

Scott Jennings

As I write this, Google's announcement that they will exit the Chinese market, absent the Chinese government allowing them to operate an unfiltered search service (a concession no one expects to happen) is reverberating across the web of technology news sites. The reason, as reported, is almost too incredible to believe - an attack by hackers backed by the Chinese government on source code repositories owned by Google and other prominent high-tech firms.

Reading this story, while taking time away from my day job as part of NCsoft's security team, which of late consists to a great degree of dealing with attacks from Chinese IP addresses and proxy servers used by Chinese companies, it seemed worthwhile to devote a column to looking at how China affects the MMO market - globally and domestically. I've touched before on China's role in the real money trading (RMT ) industry, but China's influence on the MMO market outside of cybercrime and sweatshops, to date, hasn't really matched its size. Many Chinese MMOs, such as Perfect World, have been localized for the Western market, but they haven't done well, usually released in the West as free-to-play titles that don't get a lot of publicity out of banner ads featuring scantily-clad women. To date, the most popular free-to-play titles are British (Runescape), Korean (Maple Story, Atlantica) and Taiwanese (Runes of Magic). And the tale of Western MMOs trying to break into China is a soap opera in and of itself.

Read Western MMOs and China.


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