Playing the game

Updated: 2013-04-22 10:07

By Eric Jou (China Daily)

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Playing the game

Western gamers have become Chinese video game developers' new target audience. Provided to China Daily

Chinese-made video games are moving into international markets and 'Westernizing' to appeal to a wider audience. Eric Jou reports.

Holy Chinese paladin swordsmen, shiny dragons and flying monks - all staples of Chinese online games - are getting new life as Chinese video games move out of the Middle Kingdom and into the wider world.

The move into international markets is giving Western players such as Brian Cohen a chance to join the massive world of Chinese games.

Cohen, from the United States and a game developer himself, says he plays lots of video games but he did not have the chance to play a Chinese-made game until recently. He is now working his way through the multi-player online role playing game Age of Wushu.

Before playing the Chinese game Cohen, like many people in the West, had the common misconception that Chinese games are terrible. However, after playing Age of Wushu, Cohen was hooked.

"After playing Age of Wushu my preconceived notions were blown away," Cohen says. "I would definitely be willing to try other Chinese-made games."

China's domestic online video gaming market reached record highs in 2012, earning $9.7 billion in revenue according to a report published by the Chinese Video Game Industry. That's a 35.1 percent increase from 2011.

While the domestic market is still growing and is expected to reach even higher levels of revenue, Chinese companies are looking to expand their audience by bringing the same games that the Chinese enjoy to the wider world. They are doing this in the same way Chinese movies were brought to the West - localization and translation.

Localization is the process of taking a work, be it film, book or video game, and translating it in a way that makes sense for a region.

"Any good localization or translation in general has to be smooth in the country it's in, the exception would be something that was meant or intended to be bizarre or weird," says Joshua Dyer, a translator who specializes in localization in China. "Most of the time, you don't want any barrier to play."

Dyer, from the US, has been working in the Chinese game industry since early 2009. He says his job is primarily translation, translating the Chinese in domestically created games into English.

Over the course of the last four years Dyer has seen an increase in the number of Chinese developed online video games heading out West. According to Dyer, the majority of the games he's seen "leaving" China are massively multi-player online role playing games and simulation type games. Dyer says Chinese developers are aiming to bring in more players and extend their reach.

Playing the game

Playing the game

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