Can Innovation Save China’s Games Industry?


Game copying can be a big problem in China. Last year, we wrote about a few instances in which Chinese developers copied Western games, but the vast majority of the copying is Chinese developers copying other Chinese developers. Examples are pretty easy to find; here are a few (compare the images on the left and right):

So copying is a problem. Can innovation save China’s games industry? That was the question posed to readers of Netease’s games portal recently in its ongoing discussion series (which it calls “dispute”). The results are in, and they’re quite interesting as (unsurprisingly) not everyone even agrees on whether or not the Chinese games industry needs saving. A reader poll revealed that many Chinese gamers do think innovation is pretty important:

The feature also ran short essays by two gaming insiders, a strategist at a Japanese games company and a senior writer at a Chinese game developer (both used pennames, though). The strategist supported innovation, writing that without it there was no future for the Chinese games industry, but the senior writer poured a little bit of cold water on that theory, pointing out that good games cost money and that in China at the moment, “our investors are all the same group of people, so anyone in the industry who wants to [innovate] has to get it past them.” That’s a complaint we have heard more than a few times in Western gaming circles, too.

There are also several short opinions written by gamers and links to other relevant articles, but ultimately Netease draws its own conclusion about the debate.

Whether you were in favor or opposed, everyone must admit in their hearts how important innovation is to games, it’s just that in the current situation, innovation is too much of a luxury for domestically-developed games […] If the day really comes when we can see a hundred flowers bloom into a golden age for [innovative] Chinese games, we trust that everyone will be happy to see it, so even if that day seems remote, we should still hold out hope. And when we see a truly innovative domestic game, we should use whatever’s within our power to support it and to promote it; that is the best we can do.

[via Netease Games]

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