Global Game Industry News Blog

Friday, May 04, 2007

Despite Nintendo's Piracy Concerns...

It looks like the Chinese market is doing pretty well for the moment. The gaming cafe experience is something that I saw a bit of in India, but not nearly the social force that it seems to be in China and other parts of South Asia. I think one of the key bits that spells a major difference is the rise in sales of offline PC games, which would be the easiest for piracy efforts.

It is interesting that despite Nintendo's threat, I don't believe that officially the DS or Wii is actually being marketed in China. I could be wrong, but the fact that most of it is on the Grey market doesn't surprise me. The same was largely true in India with the notable exception of Microsoft who was investing in marketing the Xbox 360 heavily.

In related news, it looks like they're issuing similar statements to those made to China to Korea. Shape up seems to be the gist of it. Korea is a market where the DS is being pushed by Nintendo, so I can see their interest in protecting their margins.

Chinese game market explodes //
The report found that revenue from the overall video game market jumped by 68% last year, with the online gaming sector generating USD 995 million in revenue, an increase of 74% from the previous year.

Unsurprisingly, the report singled out China's booming internet cafe culture as the main driver for this growth. The introduction of free-to-play massively multiplayer online games - in which players pay for virtual items - has, according to Niko's managing partner Lisa Cosmas Hanson, further stimulated this trend.

"Chinese gamers pour into the cafes every day to play online and LAN games with friends. They spend money in the games on virtual gifts for friends, services for their characters, and virtual items to help with leveling," said Hanson. "The intertwined nature of China's Internet cafes, social gaming culture, and few entertainment alternatives at a low price point, will continue to be the basis for strong growth through 2011."

But the Niko report goes on to paint a picture of overall good health for the Chinese market. Sales of offline PC games, mostly from Taiwan, rose 28.5 per cent to 904,000 units in 2006. And alongside the 20 million PCs in China's 225,000 internet cafes are an increasing number of consoles, although these are all grey imports, console hardware currently being prohibited in China.

Hanson added: "If a game company can get an impressive game or console to market in China, the gamers there will embrace it. That said, getting a product into the market is not easy. The complex regulatory environment in China is still the greatest barrier to entry for foreign game companies."

Gamasutra - Nintendo Threatens Korean Pirates
Officials from Nintendo Korea have threatened legal action against anyone that copies, sells or distributes illegal game software in South Korea, with the release of a sternly worded statement aimed at discouraging the activity.

As translated by The Korea Herald, the statement reads: "'Nintendo will take strict legal action against businesses that are earning unfair profits by selling illegal copy machineries and downloading pirated programs.'"

Nintendo Korea has also threatened web site providers who allow illegal software to be accessed, while also threatening anyone who downloads the files with a police investigation.

Software piracy has long been a particular problem in Southeast Asia, while Nintendo has earned a reputation for vigorously defending its products from piracy – both in terms of copy protection and legal action. The statement is a first from Nintendo Korea though, previously one of Nintendo’s more neglected worldwide markets.

According to the Korea Herald, the success of the Nintendo DS has been catalyst for increased activity from game pirates targeting Nintendo products, with illegal copies of games for Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft formats apparently widely available in many electronics malls.

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  • Hi, sorry if this is somewhat unrelated; I couldn't find e-mail contact information on your info page.

    I thought you might be interested in the following e-mail I received from second-to-none, a mystery shopping company. I'm not sure who is bankrolling this, but someone wants children to enter video game stores undercover to catch video game stores with lax policies regarding M-rated games. Fight the man! Spread the word so retailers know to be on their toes in the following weeks. Don't give Hillary ammunition! STN is investigating game stores in 27 states from now through 5/19; who knows how many more mystery shopping agencies are in on this?

    Part of the original e-mail follows. Feel free to re-post this elsewhere.

    Hello Shoppers!

    Second To None has been selected to conduct an entertainment industry survey of video game retailers. These surveys will be used to gauge how often the retailers are enforcing the age restrictions for mature-rated games.

    Your child will visit a local retail store that sells M-rated video games and attempt to purchase one. If allowed to do so by the cashier, the child must purchase the product. If the purchase attempt is denied, the child must make a small purchase (gum, candy) in order to validate the visit and get a receipt. You will be reimbursed for the purchase up to $5 + compensation. While your child is locating and attempting to buy the product, you will need to survey the store for required game rating signage. You must appear to be in the store separate from your child.

    If you are interested in participating and have children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, or friends with children between the ages of 13-16, please visit our website to request these assignments. If you have more than one 13-16 yr. old, both children can participate in the study if more than one assignment is available in your area. You will be required to sign a parental consent form and send in proof of age (copy of birth certificate, school ID, or driver's license).

    Thank you!


    Your First/Last Name:
    No. of children between age 13-16:
    Age of Each Child:
    Gender of Each Child:

    *Payment: $10 per shop; purchase/return required plus reimbursement for additional purchase up to $5
    *Evaluation: Minor will attempt to purchase any M-rated video game
    *Notes: Shop is expected to take 10 minutes
    *Shop dates: See Below!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/08/2007 05:58:00 PM  

  • This is really interesting. Thank you for sending it to me.

    By Blogger Casey, at 5/11/2007 12:05:00 PM  

  • Great blog. I really liked it. I have also created a lens in same niche. This is my first time , hope u guys like it. Here’s a brief intro: There are a clear indication that DVD decrypter programs are used in a bad manner such as making illegal copies of movies for sale. But are you aware that there are actually legal situations that allow you to create copies of the movies you own on DVD? With most movies costing close to$20 each it is quite easy to see why people look for anything they canto help reduce replacement costs. For more details:

    By Blogger ankur, at 8/25/2007 05:54:00 AM  

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