Updated: 2015-08-08 03:34

By SHI JING in Shanghai(China Daily)

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A strict dressing code has been introduced to this year's China Joy. It stipulates that the chest areas of female models should be covered, models should also have to keep their belly-buttons and hip lines out of sight. photos by GAO ERQIANG/ CHINA DAILY

There was a notable difference at this year’s 13th China Digital Entertainment Expo and Conference, as the highlight of the annual gaming convention shifted from female models dressed in revealing, skin-tight outfits to the actual point of the whole event — the games, and China’s growing presence in the industry.

More popularly known as China Joy, the event has been a staple in Shanghai’s event calendar for more than a decade, and organizers had this year decided that they would introduce a strict dressing code stipulating that the chest areas of female models should be fully covered with opaque materials, that they should not reveal two thirds of their back, and that they have to keep their belly-buttons and hip lines out of sight. Should a game promoter violate the guidelines, both they and their companies will be slapped with rather hefty fines.

“We feel obliged to reiterate the purpose of the show and to help players experience the games,” said the organizing committee on its official website.

The warning was well heeded. Most, if not all, of the participants adhered to the rules and the show of intent by the organizers seemed to have infused China Joy with a greater credibility as crowds swarmed the venue. A record of 270,000 visitors attended the four-day show which started on July 30 and the 80,000 crowd turnout on August 1 marked another record high in terms of daily attendance.

While some male visitors may have balked at the new regulations, the show girls applauded the organizers. Wang Lina, 19, who was working for the Tokyo-headquartered gaming company DeNa, got herself a one-piece dress which she thought was “decent yet lovely”.

California-based Blizzard Entertainment prepared simple black T-shirts for their show girls. Blizzard said that they chose this outfit because “it is in line with the company’s culture and there is no need to play ourselves up with models wearing revealing clothes”.

Blizzard’s reception was also warmer this year than before. According to the company’s rough estimates, more than 10,000 gamers had queued up to play its latest games at the booth. Visitors had to queue for at least three hours before they could try their hand at the developer’s latest first-person shooter game Overwatch, which debuted in China during the show.

Other industry big wigs such as Sony, Epic Games and Hollywood CG School of Digital Arts from Shepherd University lent further credence to China Joy this year, showing off their latest virtual reality games and wearable gadgets.


The organizer of this year's China Joy shifted the highlight of the annual event from sexy models to the games.

In a clear demonstration that the annual event is growing in strength, there was a total of 700 exhibitors, up from 550 last year, from 20 countries in attendance at the show, accounting for a 120 percent increase year-on-year. In addition, more than 3,500 games were on display, more than double last year’s. China Joy related topics on China’s own Twitter platform, Sina Weibo, also tripled to 90 million this year.

According to the 2015 China Gaming Industry Report released during China Joy, sales revenue of the Chinese gaming industry surged 21.9 percent to reach 60.51 billion yuan ($9.74 billion) in the first half of this year. China’s box office revenues in the same period pale in comparison, amounting to just a third of that at 20.3 billion yuan.

With the proliferation of smart phones and widespread 4G penetration today, mobile games have seen extremely robust growth in China. According to the report, the number of mobile game users — 24 percent of whom paid for the games — jumped 12.5 percent to 366 million in the first six months, and sales revenue soared 67.2 percent to hit 20.93 billion yuan.

With the rise of the Chinese gaming market, domestic gaming companies are subsequently beginning to leave their footprint on the global arena. China Mobile Games and Entertainment Group (CMGE), one of the key players in the local market that develop and distribute games, has excelled in making collaborative efforts with the world’s top companies in terms of intellectual property rights for games. Disney, Toei Co Ltd and SNK Playmore from Japan, to name a few, have all established long-term IP cooperations with CMGE.

“On one hand, we would like to promote the value of more IPs. On the other, we are more willing to create more IPs which belong to China,” said Xiao Jian, chief executive officer of CMGE.


The organizer of this year's China Joy shifted the highlight of the annual event from sexy models to the games.

Of the 45.83 billion yuan worth of online games produced by Chinese developers in the first half of 2015, over 23.8 percent was exported to overseas markets, amounting to a 121.4 percent increase year-on-year, the report said. In addition, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) approved the release of 355 online games, up 88.7 percent year-on-year.

“Chinese gaming companies now have the money and the right people. It is now high time for them to make bigger footprints in the global market. The gaming companies which do not have a global vision or an outbound plan will not be able to seek long-term success,” said Sun Shoushan, deputy director of SARFT.

According to experts from market consultancy IDC, Chinese companies boast larger capital and experience in the operation of games, as compared to their peers in emerging markets such as India, and South America. They also added that China’s game developers can achieve greater success in overseas markets if they leverage the huge platform provided by outbound Chinese Internet giants such as Baidu Inc and their experience in market exploitation strategies.