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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

EQII Nerfed By Great Wall

From Pacific Epoch:

"Sony Online Entertainment's massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) EverQuest II (EQ2) will end operations in China on March 30, reports Sina."

Wow, that was quick...according to the article the game never got out of open Beta in China.

I have no real idea what happened. Do you want to blame it on Gamania, the Taiwanese company who was handling the game in China? Or perhaps on WoW's popularity in China (they did have
this spiffy commercial)? Or maybe the localization efforts made? Or was it just that the game itself did not appeal to Chinese audiences? No clue here...I just don't have enough information.

It's weird because I remember reading about SOE going to extensive efforts to localize the game, including changing some of the quests to reflect the folklore and mythology of the country. But I can't find that link now and I don't know if it was China specifically.

Well, Everquest suffered a similar fate in China, closing operations after only a year, according to the article. So perhaps it is just this style of MMO that has issues in China. It is rather different from the four Asian MMO's I have tried for brief time periods.

Maybe the entire gaming population of China is too busy
with this MMO. Who can compete with that?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, i'd say it is more likely censorship from the chinese government. look at what they are doing with WoW wired has a good article http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.04/law.html

SoE probably just didn't want to have to subcumb to all of the chinese governments requests, and pulled out for that reason. Of course they wouldn't ever say that for fear of a backlash from the government

2:35 AM  
Blogger Aggro Me said...

You know, I did know about that story, and others like it, concerning the restrictions the Chinese government placed on online gaming. But I honestly didn't make the connection to EQII until you mentioned it. I'm not sure if that's the main reason (or part of the reason) but it is definitely worth mentioning, so thanks for doing so.

2:57 AM  
Anonymous Gordon said...

I find it hard to believe that SOE wouldn't make a profit in China with EQ2... regardless of the interest in WoW there, I'm sure there would be enough people who would pay for EQ2. It was, after all, successful in Japan so, without trying to sound erm racist, it looks like it does appeal to the Asian market.

I wouldnt be surprised it they had come up with issuses with the government.

4:19 AM  
Blogger Quylein said...

I would think that as an American market I would pull EQ2 under those circumstances. In the one of the last free havens I would have at my "job" I would hope for me I'd have enough self respect to tell people that want to control my game to bugger off.

10:09 AM  
Anonymous Poofe said...

I dunno what EQ2's strategy is really... I can't speak for China, but I live in San Antonio and have played Eq2 for quite a while. For the last year, I haven't seen copies of Eq2 in Best Buy stores and only rarely copies of DoF (expansion only, no starter game). WoW remains stocked however...

When I went to buy a copy of WoW the other day, there was a single copy of the DoF expansion, no starter game and no KoS expansion...

One might think that lagging subscriptions might be attributed to lack of product available (if it can happen to a big city, it can happen in smaller markets).

3:44 PM  
Anonymous Moleman said...

This is mostly info I've gotten second-hand, but apparently the Chinese MMOG market differs in some huge ways from the American one- the emphasis is on many, many small and low(er) budget games. Combine this with the fact that most games run for about 2 1/2 years max, then shut down (in favor of whatever the new flavor is). Works well for making sure your codebase doesn't get too byzantine due to years of bolted on extensions. 1 year for EQ is a little short, but not entirely a failure by those standards.

In comparison, we've got EQ and UO still running here, and folks at Blizzard have announced it's their intention to still have WOW running decades from now. We're used to MMOGs having a permanence that really doesn't exist in that market, and it's not surprising that gameplay developed for our market just didn't mesh.

3:48 PM  
Anonymous RadarX said...

The censorship could have played a small role because of the costs involved with censorhip but I couldn't see it being pivotal. China is saturated with WoW pure and simple. If I had to guess, I'd say profitability was the biggest factor in this decision.

10:46 AM  

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