American McGee Sets the Record Straight on China's Game Policy

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r_Chance:
The most interesting thing about this conversation is the fact that it could not take place in the Peoples Republic of China.

Yes and no. Actually, one of the really interesting things about the internet in China is that the PRC government is *afraid* of its power. Of course they try to monitor and control it - to a ridiculous degree. But what's really beautiful is that people here find ways to use it as an instrument of change - they impact policy with it. Government officials caught behaving badly have been executed as a result of internet backlash. 20 years ago they could have done their bad deed and got away with it. Lots of examples of internet being used to empower the people here.

Despite all the "bad" about China, one of the things I'm fascinated by is this interplay between a government that has to balance a desire for absolute control against a population it absolutely could NOT control if things got really out of hand. That drives a constant "negotiation" between people and power.

This isn't meant to be a defense of China's policies towards its minorities or the way it monitors and controls its internal communication. But I think it's important to keep in mind that information and freedom do find a way - and that things are constantly changing here - usually for the better (not hard to move towards better when things start our relatively bad).

Evil Smurf:

Evil Smurf:
why is the sale of PS3/Xbox banned in China?

Tsaba:
Because, China is a secular country and has regulation in place to maintain that. Apparently, Carl Sagan would love that aspect of China.....

Suppression of free speech would be the only reason that comes to mind... honestly I don't know, your guess is as good as mine.

What does religion have to do with a game console?

He was trying to be an ass.

OT: Interesting article, even more interesting response. It's cool to see that even American McGee himself threw himself into the fray. Good show.

Moar interviews!

I never believed in the idea of "big evil China" anyway. I think that's just the product of a country sees guys like Glenn Beck find huge success. Some people really are that paranoid. Anyway, I really didn't even know Spicy Horse was based out of China. Cool. I liked Madness Returns. Had some faults (could have done a lot more with the platforming). But dat aesthetic...

Also, has the poster in this thread actually been verified as being American McGee? Don't game industry people usually get the red name? Just being wary of someone posing as the guy. It is the internet, after all.

American McGee:
Yeah, I *know* about the Internet. I was trolling, flaming and being abused before there *was* an Internet (at least the WWW part). I think 'corner and shut up' isn't a bad idea. Going to combine that with looking at pictures of grumpy cats. :P

With all due respect American McGee, what you're doing right now is the equivalent of a manufacturer of fire trucks volunteering to go out and beat back grass fires with a wet blanket. You have a particular skill set with that you could've been used to make your point, shared your viewpoint of the world and it would've reached far more people than Robert Rath's article ever did or indeed ever could have. Go use it, and stop arguing with unreasonable people that are thrilled by the chance that they can argue with someone far more famous than themselves.

slash2x:
ANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNND the conspiracy engines are already off and running.....

"Mcgee You read card now!"

*monotone* "The Chinese treat all game developers very nice."

Thanks for your insight in this interview. I do take issue with your statement regarding "xbox 360 and PS3 game bans" in China. I feel that the readers should be aware of just how soft/insubstantial this ban is. Seriously, the level of enforcement on this one pretty much extends to one unlucky proprietor out of multitudes having to pay a kickback to some low-level official and/or officer for that year. Then, it's back to business as usual.

I've been in China for around 13 years, and in that time have had no problems purchasing consoles or games from openly operating stores. I purchased "Homefront" (and wished I hadn't- shit game) in Hong Kong, before bringing it to the mainland in my luggage. I've brought games into China from overseas, including such potentially controversial titles as Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising and the Splinter Cell HD Collection, one episode of which features some espionage/wetwork within a Chinese Embassy against a splinter faction of the PRC army. Sensitive issues? (consider the similarities between Dragon Rising and a certain hotly contested little group of islands)
Definitely, but no-one seems to be on the case at all.

On the occasions that my luggage has been searched, not one customs officer has even looked twice at the video games contained therein. I purchase games/consoles in the country, bring games into the country, and have games posted to me from outside of the country. I've seen 15 year old kids carrying their new Xbox 360 out of the local store, walking down the street with their parents.

Sorry for a rather large chunk of text (and not particularly on topic either). I'm not an apologist (and am not at all labeling yourself as such), but I like to think that my perspective, based on personal experience, is valid. This is just one inaccuracy that I have addressed here in the past, and I thought that I should mention it again.

American McGee:
Seriously? We're talking about video game censorship and you guys take it to something horrible and unrelated like that little girl getting run over? You equate my article with defending *that*?!

This is exactly why I started off by saying that my initial reaction was to not respond at all... because people are largely unable to see past their preconceived notations and prejudices.

YES there are *bad things* about China. Guess what? There are *bad things* about all countries. Little girls getting run over - better or worse than little girl being blown up by drones? We could do this all day.

The original article was sensationalist and factually incorrect. Or does that not matter to you because it's more fun to make jokes about me "working for China" and read stuff that reinforces your preset expectations about the world outside your borders? How dare someone ask you to stretch a bit!

It's most likely because the easiest way for people to judge a country that is apparently "different in every way" is through sensationalist stories like these ones. It goes way back into the cultural bias and tendency well-set in Western thought from the Cold War against Communism. Despite first-hand accounts and what-not, people will hold on to the idea of "Evil Communist China" for a long while yet. Which is stupid and unfortunate. These same corporate practices are done everywhere.

As a happier side note, I really love the Alice games. Feel free to keep making more!

I'd like to thank Mr. McGee for this.
The original article reeks of misinformation and short sighted cultural judgement.
I still remember another article in this very site about a chinese gaming expo that decided to ban booth babes and to everyone here it was clear that this was the work of a totalitarian state that didn't allowed any sort of freedom, all of this while ignoring the fact that PAX did the same about a year before...

people should really learn to look in the mirror before judging

American McGee is a man in proud company as one of the many people tangentially related to Doom to go on to be an over-hyped talentless wonder. Just because you have to farm out your grimdak mediocrity to China in order to get them made does not mean you have to fellate the communist party.

"Factually inaccurate" you say? Well nothing gets the facts straight like 3 pages of unreadable bullshit...

In every facet of life China engages in flagrant censorship, from banning all political discourse, both offline and online, to carefully manipulating the cultural content provided to their people. The image China's leaders hope to sell to their people in a lie, it goes so far beyond regulation it's unfathomable that anyone would suggest it. 'American' McGee is complicit in this lie and therefore degrades the art-form of gaming by being so.

American McGee:

Because the Chinese government wanted to block foreign corporations from establishing a monopoly for game distribution in their country. See retail game distribution in the US as an example. It's anti-competition, pure and simple. Same goes for why they block Facebook or disrupt Google's services here. There are Chinese equivalents and they wish to give them a leg up (well, more than that... they want to see them dominate locally then attempt to dominate globally. See Tencent.)

Thank you for explaining this so clearly, American! I am also living and working in China, and it amazes me how people in the US don't understand that these policies are geared towards reducing competition and bolstering local businesses. There is, however, another reason that's worth mentioning: stability. I'm not sure which motivation comes first in the eyes of the authorities, but both are quite important to the government.

What I think is interesting is that of the numerous examples Mr. Rath gave in his article the only one Mr. McGee seemed to be able to come up with a rebuttal to is the example of Homefront. No mention of any of the other examples.

The fact of the matter is that Chinese censorship is ruthlessly oppressive and if most videogames manage to fly under the radar it's because they don't deal with what infuriates the Chinese government more than anything else: criticizing the Chinese government. One need only look at the way they cracked down on China's 5th generation filmmakers for the films they made in the late '80's and early '90's (films like To Live and The Blue Kite) or the way they have bullied and abused artists and activists like Ai Weiwei and Liu Xiabo for criticizing the government to see how little tolerance they have for it, and the idea that you could compare USDOT's stance on imported electric cars in the US (and let's just ignore all the domestic ones that are starting to hit the market) to this oppression is utterly absurd.

There is a huge difference between electric cars and freedom of expression and there is a huge difference in having to put skin on skeletons and being imprisoned for publicly criticizing the government, something McGee doesn't have to worry about with the kinds of games he makes (really, Mr. McGee, go make a game where you get to play as Tank Man and see how warm and welcoming the Chinese government is to you then), and one does not need to live in China to see how oppressive the government is, just like one does not need to live in the US to see how wrong the US was in carrying out the war in Iraq (or whatever other example you want to use).

I have, admittedly, never been to China, but I would love to go. I have no doubt that I would find it an amazing country with a rich, deep culture and wonderful people. However, I despise much of what their government has done to their own citizens and even if I went and lived there for awhile (something else I would be perfectly willing to do), it would not change the fact that what they have done to their own artists and activists who, in the government's eyes, step out of line, is morally reprehensible, and while I don't buy into the BS in some of these comments about how Mr. McGee has a Chinese gun to his head, I genuinely wonder if he can come on here and speak out against what, say, the Chinese government has done to Liu Xiabo or Ai Weiwei, because I assume, as a good and decent human being, that he does find the government's treatment of these two and so many others morally reprehensible.

It seems to me the reason he has found making games in China such a pleasurable experience is because he has been very careful to keep his nose clean and not make any waves and that is in fact the problem. People in China do not have the same freedom of expression that comparable artists in the US, Europe and much of the rest of the world do, and there is simply no excuse or justification for that.

American McGee:

It gives the local (inferior) producer time to build an audience and improve their quality without having to fight competition. In some industries this works - again, take a look at Tencent and the game industry here. In other cases it does not work - Chinese domestic cars are still crappy, despite the fact that the government forces foreign brand cars to be produced in local factories.

Yeah, I *know* about the Internet. I was trolling, flaming and being abused before there *was* an Internet (at least the WWW part). I think 'corner and shut up' isn't a bad idea. Going to combine that with looking at pictures of grumpy cats. :P

You are sacrificing the opportunity to seek a service that the market can dominate in order to get a slice of a rapidly staling pie.

First off, in response to ...

"Next, the suggestion that the "exec team will be banned from entering into China" is ridiculous."

I'd like to point out that Brad Pitt and David Thewlis are both banned from China "for life" because they were in Seven Years in Tibet. Not to mention half of the people on this list ... http://www.buzzfeed.com/daves4/37-celebrities-banned-from-foreign-countries - People such as Martin Scorsese, Harrison Ford and even Jay-Z. So yeah, China bans people from entering the country. And yes, I'm going to wager that being the executive behind an anti-Chinese game would more likely result in a ban than starring (and co-starring) in a mediocre, pro-Tibetan film.

As for your interview, you completely missed the point the original author was making. He was essentially pointing out that the Chinese (government and people), a growing market, are going to take to a game or movie full of shooting Chinese antagonists the same way the Americans would take to a movie/game full of American antagonists getting shot. Granted, I added the second half of that sentence as my own conclusion, but I really didn't find it that difficult to conclude. For a non-Chinese example, I noticed "Valley of the Wolves: Iraq" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0493264/) didn't do very well in Israel.

My conclusion? You have some new games coming out and found an outlet for attention. Snore.

And while we're at it, to everyone who keeps saying, "Oh, the Chinese government blocks trade to help boost local businesses" - Google: "autarky". It's a bad thing.

Last I checked, Homefront was a PC game as well...

But wow... This just entire interview reeks of being coached by the Chinese government (based on McGee's responses).

AldUK:
He sounds very apologetic of a culture which, frankly, we should all be wary of. I don't mean to sound inflammatory with that statement, but if you actually look at their governments policies and practices, there is really no excusing China. For example, the case of a village being forced to move, when one man lay in the road to protest, the government overseerer told the drivers to kill him. They did. In front of his family and friends. And that's not even that uncommon a story over there. http://www.infowars.com/man-crushed-by-road-flattening-truck-on-orders-of-chinese-officials/

In Britain entire neighbourhoods were demolished during the 19th century to make way for new factories, railways, etc. anyone who resisted either ended up dead or in Australia. Hell compulsory purchase orders are still being used today in the UK so it's not a uniquely Chinese thing.

There's also the recent case of the young girl, ran over by a truck in the street, left to bleed to death by multiple passers-by who did not want to get involved. http://www.chinasmack.com/2011/videos/2-year-old-chinese-girl-ran-over-by-van-ignored-by-18-bystanders.html

1) what does that have to do with the Chinese government? Was she hit by a government vehicle outside a government building?

2) look up the bystander effect. If there's a crowd around people often ignore someone whose injured because 'someone else will deal with it'. Again not a uniquely Chinese thing, it happens in the West every day.

So, what I've gathered from this story/thread:

China isn't bad because America does bad things

The Chinese government forces their own people to buy crap products to promote local business. How are people just glazing over this? It's completely anti-consumer and is just another way their government screws over its people

aceman67:
This just entire interview reeks of being coached by the Chinese government (based on McGee's responses).

If the Chinese government is spending resources to coach a game developer on how to respond to a list of questions that a game journalist sent via email... I think the country has bigger problems than anything discussed here. (Read: I think you've been watching too much Conspiracy Theory with host Jesse Ventura)

Since we have American McGee on here which is pretty awesome in its own right...

I don't think anyone outside of China can judge about how great it is to work in China. Since I have never been there, I can't discuss their regulations and committees. I will say that China certainly doesn't have the best reputation in the global market for quality work and for human rights but then again America isn't really high on the list either.

I will also say that American is going to take a large hit on this matter regardless of facts. In the middle of a recession when we are seeing people lose their jobs and their houses, outsourcing something you could do here to China is not exactly a fan favorite. Its never going to be a fan favorite, especially when we all think the excuses you give for it are just screens and its all really about producing a game cheaper to make more money.

Now as a business owner myself I can completely understand this. As an independent developer it makes sense to save as much money as possible so you can make an initial investment last longer and keep employees paid. It also gives you more of a chance to produce more games which can in turn produce more money so you can take time on 1 big pet project. I get it, I truly do. What I don't get is why that just isn't said out loud. I know the gaming community can be a bitch but I'd like to think that a majority of the community is mature enough to get it and appreciate it.

Basically, I just can't see the biggest reason for your move as solely a government one and it feels like that is what you are saying.

Spartan212:
So, what I've gathered from this story/thread:

China isn't bad because America does bad things

The Chinese government forces their own people to buy crap products to promote local business. How are people just glazing over this? It's completely anti-consumer and is just another way their government screws over its people

You are pretty damned naive if you believe every other country, including the U.S., doesn't do this. It's protectionism, and we've got a lot of it.

Do you know why most products used High Fructose Corn Syrup instead of sugar in the U.S.? Because they didn't want to enrich the Cubans by getting cane sugar from them, so they raised tariffs on cane sugar as high as was necessary until it became more cost effective for local companies to use the syrup instead, using corn from the U.S.

American McGee:

Evil Smurf:
why is the sale of PS3/Xbox banned in China?

Because the Chinese government wanted to block foreign corporations from establishing a monopoly for game distribution in their country. See retail game distribution in the US as an example. It's anti-competition, pure and simple. Same goes for why they block Facebook or disrupt Google's services here. There are Chinese equivalents and they wish to give them a leg up (well, more than that... they want to see them dominate locally then attempt to dominate globally. See Tencent.)

Interesting side effect that I doubt the government predicted is the online game industry in China today. It's massive. And all a result of an artificial barrier put in place by government. In hindsight I'm sure they like to claim success as a result of forward thinking 15+ years ago.

All that being the case, one can still acquire 360/PS3 games here. 360 games are freely available, pirated. PS3 games are brought in via Hong Kong. Both can be found in most pirate DVD shops.

Interesting. I have 2 follow-up questions, if I may:

1) Isn't that just trading one monopoly for another? Personally, I would love to see Chinese games get wide commercial release in the US. Diversity of perspective is what art thrives on. How can the corporate model be described as anti-competition (don't get me wrong, it absolutely is), while a system of unilateral certification for Chinese release isn't?

2) As digital distribution becomes increasingly utilized, allowing independent developers easy means of publication & promotion, do you think these restrictions will still be needed to prevent corporate monopolies?

Moosejaw:

Spartan212:
So, what I've gathered from this story/thread:

China isn't bad because America does bad things

The Chinese government forces their own people to buy crap products to promote local business. How are people just glazing over this? It's completely anti-consumer and is just another way their government screws over its people

You are pretty damned naive if you believe every other country, including the U.S., doesn't do this. It's protectionism, and we've got a lot of it.

Do you know why most products used High Fructose Corn Syrup instead of sugar in the U.S.? Because they didn't want to enrich the Cubans by getting cane sugar from them, so they raised tariffs on cane sugar as high as was necessary until it became more cost effective for local companies to use the syrup instead, using corn from the U.S.

I would assume that was because we have an embargo with Cuba over the Cuban Missile Crisis from the 1960s. That's a far cry from locking out other countries from selling their products here. It's not even close to being the same thing.

Please give an ACTUAL example of where the US blocks out other countries. Because all I see here are Japanese electronics, German cars, and Chinese parts

Any issues people have aside American McGee seems like a bloke with his head screwed on straight. He said at the beginning that he contemplated writing a response to the first article which shows just how much he cares about what he does and the fact that he didn't proves he is smart enough to think about actions/reactions.

Instead of slagging off or being rude a clear and honest interview thing ended up being not only a good read but earned him my respect.

Hey American McGee: I've got a brilliant idea. Let's take a bunch of fairy tale characters.... but make them CORRUPT AND EVIL! Wow, nobody ever thought of that before. We'll make billions.

American McGee:

Because the Chinese government wanted to block foreign corporations from establishing a monopoly for game distribution in their country. See retail game distribution in the US as an example. It's anti-competition, pure and simple. Same goes for why they block Facebook or disrupt Google's services here. There are Chinese equivalents and they wish to give them a leg up (well, more than that... they want to see them dominate locally then attempt to dominate globally. See Tencent.)

Interesting side effect that I doubt the government predicted is the online game industry in China today. It's massive. And all a result of an artificial barrier put in place by government. In hindsight I'm sure they like to claim success as a result of forward thinking 15+ years ago.

All that being the case, one can still acquire 360/PS3 games here. 360 games are freely available, pirated. PS3 games are brought in via Hong Kong. Both can be found in most pirate DVD shops.

That's great and I do in fact recall playing Ace Combat 6 on an Xbox 360 at my cousin's place in China. However the ban on PS3/360 consoles is less relevant to Homefront given it has a PC version. It was presumably a port done by Digital Extremes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homefront_(video_game)#PC_version

The console ban was the only evidence you provided for your claim that Homefront "was never intended to sell in China" and thus could not be subject to pressure from the Chinese government. On the other hand the "pressure" that the Homefront developers felt seems to come down to some guys in the office worrying about whether or not they'd be banned from visiting China.

So personally I feel like the Homefront devs did not face any real pressure from China and that you should brush up on your knowledge of crappy modern military shooters.

American McGee:

Evil Smurf:
why is the sale of PS3/Xbox banned in China?

Because the Chinese government wanted to block foreign corporations from establishing a monopoly for game distribution in their country. See retail game distribution in the US as an example. It's anti-competition, pure and simple. Same goes for why they block Facebook or disrupt Google's services here. There are Chinese equivalents and they wish to give them a leg up (well, more than that... they want to see them dominate locally then attempt to dominate globally. See Tencent.)

Interesting side effect that I doubt the government predicted is the online game industry in China today. It's massive. And all a result of an artificial barrier put in place by government. In hindsight I'm sure they like to claim success as a result of forward thinking 15+ years ago.

All that being the case, one can still acquire 360/PS3 games here. 360 games are freely available, pirated. PS3 games are brought in via Hong Kong. Both can be found in most pirate DVD shops.

The solution to a monopoly is not a monopoly. And I'm really not sure that I believe you that the motive behind disrupting google was to boost Chinese competitors.

On top of that, the idea that it's okay that these things are flat out banned because you can get them illegally without too much trouble is not a defence of that law.

China is not an orwellian state, but the Government is far, far to intrusive into the lives of its people, and you seem to be trying to draw attention away from that. I am not claiming that you are corrupt, or anything of that nature, but I am claiming that you are viewing the PRC through very rose tinted goggles.

You read card nao or poriticor prison!

Ahem, sorry, I couldn't resist that one.

Ahhh racism, intolerance, short sightedness, narrow mindedness, nationalistic fervor, misinformation & us vs them mentality. This thread is so full of fail on so many levels it must have set a new world record.

American McGee:
Seriously? We're talking about video game censorship and you guys take it to something horrible and unrelated like that little girl getting run over? You equate my article with defending *that*?!

This is exactly why I started off by saying that my initial reaction was to not respond at all... because people are largely unable to see past their preconceived notations and prejudices.

YES there are *bad things* about China. Guess what? There are *bad things* about all countries. Little girls getting run over - better or worse than little girl being blown up by drones? We could do this all day.

The original article was sensationalist and factually incorrect. Or does that not matter to you because it's more fun to make jokes about me "working for China" and read stuff that reinforces your preset expectations about the world outside your borders? How dare someone ask you to stretch a bit!

This thread is dire. Thank you for the interview. It was an interesting read and it's always interesting to have preconceived notions challenges. Not that I thought China was a 1984esque hellhole in the first place. Worse than Denmark where I live, for sure, and I strongly oppose most of their policies, despite being a communist/marxist myself, but it seems that a lot of people in this thread have subscribed to some weird strain of McCarthyism giving them a pretty weird view on things. Aside from that, China has changed a lot in recent years and I suspect it will keep doing so, no matter if it get covered in western media. I doubt the state can maintain the rigid control forever in the world we live in. As you said: information will find a way. And information is the bane of oppression, even if it takes time. I hope (and think) China will gradually change for the better.

And since I have you here any way I want to thank you for Alice and Madness Returns. I dearly love both games!

DemonCrim:
Why anyone would want to defend China's policies is beyond me. Maybe I'm just spoiled living in the US but China in my mind is a dirty underdeveloped prison forcing their people to work in terrible condition for little to no pay. Forcing women to either to have an abortion or pay a massive fine meaning having more than two children in that country is the luxury of the rich. Lets not forget the great firewall of China, and yet companies flock to China to have all their stuff made and politicians try to buddy up with China. But hey I guess you don't really need a moral compass in either of those jobs...

He wants to defend China specifically because of people like you, who's only understanding of China's culture and society is via broad, negative stereotypes.

Just a smidgen of research could challenge a few of your views on China. For instance:
1. "Underdeveloped"? Ever seen a photo of Hong Kong? Shenzhen? Shanghai? They are hardly underdeveloped by any means. I say this knowing there exists rural areas of China that don't even have access to electricity yet. Emphasis should go on the word "developing". It is fairly astonishing that a country and population as large as China can still feed all its people, especially as it has a lot of catching up to do in some areas.
2. "Terrible conditions for no pay". Sweatshops are a lousy place to work, but they actually offer a lot of benefits for a developing country. Untrained, inexperienced workers are given a chance of making a wage; a wage, by the way, that is not meagre by national standards. Sweatshops in most countries pay significantly higher than the average wage (Nike factories in Thailand pay twice the national ave. wage). They are a symptom of a world wide income disparity, but they are not automatically a bad thin, and people are happy to have those jobs. It's also worth noting that China does actually have a middle class, and ordinary jobs too. Not that you'd ever see that sort of thing depicted in a fictional representation of China.
3. The one child policy is poorly enforced throughout most of China. The further from Beijing, the more likely people are to flaunt the rules. Chinese families tend to be large, and have lots of children. The same goes for "one cat/one dog" policies - again, ignored by and large.

Spartan212:

Moosejaw:

Spartan212:
So, what I've gathered from this story/thread:

China isn't bad because America does bad things

The Chinese government forces their own people to buy crap products to promote local business. How are people just glazing over this? It's completely anti-consumer and is just another way their government screws over its people

You are pretty damned naive if you believe every other country, including the U.S., doesn't do this. It's protectionism, and we've got a lot of it.

Do you know why most products used High Fructose Corn Syrup instead of sugar in the U.S.? Because they didn't want to enrich the Cubans by getting cane sugar from them, so they raised tariffs on cane sugar as high as was necessary until it became more cost effective for local companies to use the syrup instead, using corn from the U.S.

I would assume that was because we have an embargo with Cuba over the Cuban Missile Crisis from the 1960s. That's a far cry from locking out other countries from selling their products here. It's not even close to being the same thing.

Please give an ACTUAL example of where the US blocks out other countries. Because all I see here are Japanese electronics, German cars, and Chinese parts

Actually, it is exactly the same damn thing. It is blocking imports from another country, for whatever reason. America often places embargoes on from foreign countries. Iran and Syria would be the two most obvious examples. You can't just make exceptions about the US.

I find it scary to read all the negative comments about the Chinese government on here. Sure, they are no saints (please point out a government that is...), but its pretty telling that so many just cannot see that a lot of the comparisons he makes to the US is quite spot on.

I especially like his comment about censorship. Who are we (westerners) to say what is the right thing to do? We censor stuff too, just different stuff.

---

Zombie_Moogle:

American McGee:

Evil Smurf:
why is the sale of PS3/Xbox banned in China?

Because the Chinese government wanted to block foreign corporations from establishing a monopoly for game distribution in their country. See retail game distribution in the US as an example. It's anti-competition, pure and simple. Same goes for why they block Facebook or disrupt Google's services here. There are Chinese equivalents and they wish to give them a leg up (well, more than that... they want to see them dominate locally then attempt to dominate globally. See Tencent.)

Interesting side effect that I doubt the government predicted is the online game industry in China today. It's massive. And all a result of an artificial barrier put in place by government. In hindsight I'm sure they like to claim success as a result of forward thinking 15+ years ago.

All that being the case, one can still acquire 360/PS3 games here. 360 games are freely available, pirated. PS3 games are brought in via Hong Kong. Both can be found in most pirate DVD shops.

Interesting. I have 2 follow-up questions, if I may:

1) Isn't that just trading one monopoly for another? Personally, I would love to see Chinese games get wide commercial release in the US. Diversity of perspective is what art thrives on. How can the corporate model be described as anti-competition (don't get me wrong, it absolutely is), while a system of unilateral certification for Chinese release isn't?

2) As digital distribution becomes increasingly utilized, allowing independent developers easy means of publication & promotion, do you think these restrictions will still be needed to prevent corporate monopolies?

the games made for the chinese market tend to have a different mindset. the mmo's escpecially are built pretty much around pay to win and pay for power

Well, if you compare it to Germany's censorship of videogames and you will come to the conclusion that the two countries have more in common than you think (although in Germany a game without a rating can be released, but it happens really rarely, since it wouldn't make its money back due to the regulations)

Also what Mr. McGee said here fits in the picture some of my friends from uni, who spent quite a long time in Bejing, told me about their time there.

Still wouldn't want to move there.

Captcha: walk the plank

woow, calm down D:

This was a very interesting insight. Perhaps I should read the Robert Rath 'China Syndrome' article for comparison, though I already feel somewhat let down considering how I thought his Medal of Honour piece was pretty good.

MikeWehner:

aceman67:
This just entire interview reeks of being coached by the Chinese government (based on McGee's responses).

If the Chinese government is spending resources to coach a game developer on how to respond to a list of questions that a game journalist sent via email... I think the country has bigger problems than anything discussed here.

In China, first you get the game journalists. Then you get the power. Then you get the women.

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