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Oct 15, 2006



Thanks Aaron. Can't wait!


Sigh. I move to NYC, and so of course State of Play immediately moves elsewhere. A pox on all your houses. :)


The Korea Game conference is holding a keynote panel with Jessica Mulligan, Ung-gi Yoon, Erik Bethke, and myself on similar issues:

"When Real Worlds and Virtual Worlds Collide".

See the top-level session description at: http://www.kgconf.com/eng06/. Additional topics that the group will hopefully address include Game Addiction and Identity, Anonymity, and Identity Theft.


"Much of this growth will be propelled by 180 million Chinese Internet users, the majority of whom will play on-line games."

Really, the majority? I'm guessing you're confident about that because of some study or another: any chance of a reference? That's quite a figure!



Hi Endie,

Thanks for asking me to cite my sources. :)

The 180 million figure comes from:


The estimate that the majority of these users will play on-line games is based on a recent report by Pacific Epoch, the excellent series of articles in Gama Sutra, and this recent batch of articles reprinted in China IT News:

Keep in mind that this includes the free-to-play games, casual games, and online gambling.


Well, I did try and make it as little as possible like a demand for citations as possible: I didn't doubt you were basing your remark on something, I was just intrigued as to what!

Those numbers certainly amount to life-changing money. No wonder companies like CCP are focusing on getting a foothold when the potential market is 500 times their subs base...

Thanks for the article refs,



Aside from such conferences, what else do you see that can be done to help bridge this gap?


I suppose Reuters will be the news bureau of choice and "special access" to both sides of the event proceedings, given developments in Second Life.



Sounds fun -- shame I can't get expense these more "academic" conferences.

"India is already the region's third largest market for online games and participation in virtual worlds is sure to follow there as in other developing economies."

Now that's a line I don't buy one bit -- unless by "largest," you mean geographically. Not 3rd largest in number of players, developers, or revenue. And I don't know how India could possibly be lumped in together with East Asia regionally...


"Meanwhile, thousands of Chinese players complain that Western gamers in World of Warcraft apply racial profiling, excluding Chinese players from social groups based on language skills and recognizably Chinese surnames."

I have a hard time believing this and would like to know where you are getting this data that would back this assertion up.

Chinese players who play on western servers are violating the Terms of Service if they are logging into USA/Oceanic or Europe WoW servers and do not reside in those countries. WoW on those servers is a game that is conducted in the English language. Naturally everyone who is playing WoW on those servers would be expected to speak English and choose characters names that make sense in the context of WoW. When in Rome...

The problem of gold farmers and in particular "Chinese gold farmers" has been plauging virtual worlds for years now. Their actions have destroyed virtual economies and degraded the play experience of people who play the games for entertainment rather then playing the games for financial rewards. It's only natural that there is a great deal of anomosity toward this group of people. They should not expect any kind of respect or tolerance from the player community if they are playing illegally and engaging in rapacious gold farming which hurts the normal cadence of the virtual world economy. The important thing to remember is that it is their behavior, not their ethnicity that is what upsets players regarding the the negative impact of gold farmers.

I was the GM of a large guild in WoW. Frequently we would get applicants that were obviously Chinese but they could not communicate well enough to be able to function as bona fide productive members of a large team which is precisely what a guild is. Every order in a raid setting is crucial and must be understood with no impediments. As GM's and guildmembers we do not have the time to babysit players that can barely speak our language.

As far as racial profiling, that's a very strong and reckless charge. Virtual worlds are all about anonymity. Nobody (at least in WoW or EverQuest) asks your real life race before they decide to group with you or buy/sell with you. Nobody cares where you are from or what your background is as long as you can play the game with skill, be a productive guildmember and communicate effectively with your fellow virutal world citizens. We have a few guildmembers of Chinese extraction that can speak English well enough to play; they are excellent and valued guildmembers. Their racial background and ethnicity has no bearing on how we view them.

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