[Air-l] FW: [chineseinternetresearch] Fantasies Inspire Chinese Gamers (BBC)

Charles Ess cmess at drury.edu
Wed Apr 27 12:10:22 PDT 2005

Just in case anyone interested in games may not have seen this..

Charles Ess

Distinguished Research Professor, Interdisciplinary Studies
Drury University
900 N. Benton Ave.              Voice: 417-873-7230
Springfield, MO  65802  USA       FAX: 417-873-7435

Home page:  http://www.drury.edu/ess/ess.html
Co-chair, CATaC: http://www.it.murdoch.edu.au/catac/

Exemplary persons seek harmony, not sameness. -- Analects 13.23

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From: Jack Linchuan Qiu <qlcomm at yahoo.com>
Reply-To: <chineseinternetresearch at yahoogroups.com>
Date: Wed, 27 Apr 2005 04:01:55 -0000
To: <chineseinternetresearch at yahoogroups.com>
Subject: [chineseinternetresearch] Fantasies Inspire Chinese Gamers (BBC)


Fantasies inspire Chinese gamers
By Louisa Lim 
BBC News, Beijing  
Ancient warlords and dragons that breathe fireballs loom large in
China's online fantasy games.
And the virtual world is sometimes taking precedence over the real
one for the growing band of online gamers.

International firms are eyeing China's computer gaming industry
because it offers huge prospects for growth.

But one unusual story, which recently hit the headlines here,
possibly points to a worrying trend.

Harsh reality 

It involved a 41 year old man, Qiu Chengwei, who had become hooked
on a popular online game called the Legend of Mir 3.

Mr Qiu had spent many hours amassing points to earn the right to use
a cyber weapon called a Dragon Sabre.

But he had made the mistake of lending his precious weapon to
another player, who promptly sold it for almost 900 real world US

Mr Qiu was so incensed he went to the police, but was told that the
law doesn't protect virtual property.

He then went to the house of the man who sold his cyber weapon and
stabbed him in the chest, killing him.

Mr Qiu has pleaded guilty to intentional injury but says he never
meant to kill. 

This cautionary tale shows just how seriously people are taking
online games in China.

Something to do 

For some, internet games are more important than virtually anything
else. I know two thirty-something friends who decided their aim in
life was to gain supremacy in one particular game, in this case a
historical war game.

For more than a month, they took it in turns to play - one sleeping
on a camp bed by the computer, while the other played.

For them, the reason was simple: boredom. One had been laid off and
had nothing better to do. The other worked at a state-owned bank, so
could catch up on his sleep at work.

Eventually, through their joint efforts, they amassed enough points
to become nationwide champion, so they decided to stop.

That's the story they told me, though I suspect that their wives had
something to do with it.

Gold rush 

In Chinese country towns especially, there isn't a lot to do at
night. But go into any internet cafe and you'll find rows of
youngsters tapping away, oblivious to the outside world.

China's puritanical press has even labelled internet cafes "hotbeds
of juvenile crime and depravity".

And this notion is reinforced by stories of internet-related deaths,
like the unfortunate seller of the Dragon Sabre or two students who
fell asleep on a railway track after an all-night session at an
internet cafe. 

Nonetheless, money is king in China. Online gaming is a massive
market, and one that is increasing exponentially.

Last year China had almost 100 million internet users; one-fifth of
them played online games.

In 2004, the online gaming industry was worth $600m. That may not
sound like that much, but it represents growth of 60% over the year

A 31 year-old who set up an online gaming company just six years ago
has been named China's second richest man, with an estimated fortune
of more than $1bn. 

Beijing wants to capture the market, and is setting up a college of
internet gaming to train developers to come up with healthy games.

With hundreds of millions of potential gamers still lacking access
to the internet in China, this could be the new gold rush.

And no one wants to be left out.

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