Video gaming has an odd place in the world of entertainment.
There is no doubt of its popularity of course, with GTA5 standing as it does as the most profitable single piece of media in human history, but the industry so far has been centred around the Western world and Japan. Not content to sit on its laurels as a ‘mere’ economic superpower, China has been making waves in pushing forward the video game in some major ways.
Here we want to take a look at things that are soon to change for gamers in China, and what that could mean for their already enormous player-base.
Hard Limits on Time
Your time is your time as an informed adult and is, therefore, yours to do with as you please. Few of us could argue, however, that there isn’t an issue with some children spending far too long engaged in gaming than in any time in the past.
Part of this comes down to how synonymous mobile phones have become with modern culture and the effect which they can have in acting as a distraction for the young. In the modern age, getting kids to sleep or do homework today practically necessitates the removal of digital devices, as many kids will choose games over sleep or homework almost every time.
Understanding this, Chinese entertainment company Tencent is pushing for a rare move limiting the playtime of children, both in terms of how much time can be spent and how late games can be played. Even going as far as to utilise face-scanning technology, this development really sets a precedent of big business placing the health of players first.
Changes in the Free Gaming Scene
There has been a little catch-up when it comes to the inclusion of online gaming and gambling systems. Not one to fall behind in this area either, China has been one of the first to remove unregulated loot systems from gaming, and push for a more responsible set of rules. Of course, this means that players can use regulated and trusted systems, but this newer development helps ensure that nobody will be taken for a ride when AAA gaming is concerned.
This has really helped in that it has had a major say in pushing the way towards gaming with an increased focus on free methods of play. The way that this has been illustrated is reflected in modern developments which hearken back to a form of practice play which had for a long time fallen by the wayside – the concept of a demo. Taking from the prior forms of a limited allowed level-set, today these tend to offer the full game where players can play as much as they want up to a certain point. This allows a much more in-depth analysis on the players part and helps gain initial interest and reduce the backlash of disappointed refunds.
Greater Emphasis on Mobile
While we were admittedly some of those who were all too eager to look down on mobile gaming when it first arrived, it would be naive to think that this industry has not proven itself one of surprising innovation. As many of our concerns about this industry tied into the limitations of these devices, and our own lack of imagination when it comes to control schemes, time has often proven these concerns moot.
Again, it was China who made the most major strides in pushing new genres into the mobile market, and nowhere is this as obvious as with MMOs and major online games. Companies like Netease have not only conquered the world when it comes to showing what mobile MMORPGs can offer, but they have done so in a way that is accessible, fun, and industry leading.
It’s hard to see developments like Fortnite on mobile and not recognise the influence of popular Chinese games as the first to forge the path. AAA developers can be majorly hesitant to explore, as we have seen so many times, so China’s success means a greater range of games not only for China, but for the entire world.
As much as we love gaming, there is no doubt that the industry can be slow to evolve. In cases like these, it often takes somebody to lead the way and show everybody else what can and even what should be done.
In this, China has been an enormously successful force for change, not only in pushing for quality and range but also in protecting consumers and their children both. Don’t be surprised to see the rest of the world following in China’s footsteps, as immense as they often have shown to be.