Posted Fri, Sep 12, 2008 by Medeor
Americans are different gamers than those from China.
Who would have even considered that Chinese World of Warcraft gamers were different than Americans? Well it was worth $100,000 to find out that's for sure. UC Irvine has been granted the dream job of compiling mountains of data on gamers in China and America to document the differences between the two countries' gamer play styles. Whether or not it is money well spent is a whole other topic, but here is what they are starting with in a nutshell:
“Chinese people play the more challenging form of World of Warcraft almost exclusively. They find the less challenging form of the game ‘boring.’ Here, about 50 percent play the challenging form of the game and there, about 95 percent do.
“(The) Chinese have invented some interesting ways to play with the in-game economy (not the real world economy). Ways that I have not observed here in two years of studying ‘World of Warcraft.’
“Chinese players are more attuned to the aesthetics of the game. At least they mention them more in interviews. They talked more about color schemes, animations, architecture, and so on more than American players.
“There seem to be fewer female players of ‘World of Warcraft’ in China. On the order of 20 percent here and 10 percent there.
“Here and in Europe and Australia/New Zealand people play with parents and event grandparents. Not in China. The older generation dislikes video games. People here play with brothers and sisters. But in China people don’t have brothers and sisters for the most part, so friend relationships are very important.
From my initial brush-off of a silly topic, now I'm mesmerized by the information. I hadn't thought of the fact that almost all gamers in China are male single children who enjoy the artistic style of games while pwning other gamers as they play in cafes. China is single-kid household for the most part so that makes sense. Playing in cafes creates a whole new dynamic that is completely different from my gaming environment. I have a quiet place where I can throw my soda cans over the mountain of empty bags of chips and call it my own. It also means that I can set up (or screw up) my own computer any way that I choose.
The rest of the article can be found at the Science Dude.
While we typically think of Asian players from our own biases, I hadn't really thought of how deeply the society structure changes the way in which they game - from the fundamentals (they are in cafes not their houses) to the social (much higher male to female ratio). This article has really opened my eyes to gaming around the globe. I'll have to ask Patrick from France how gamers game in France, maybe I can get $100,000 to go find out. Have you gone gaming around the world? What other oddities or differences have you seen from the ways we game in North America? Stop by and fill in this country bumpkin in our forums.