Game Art Internationalization and Localization Interview with Lillian Lee

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Our latest installment of LocaLAIse This! takes a look at game localization from an artist standpoint. LAI’s Managing Director of China interviews Lillian Lee, our newest Game Art Localization Consultant with 12+ years in the industry. Lillian has served as an artist for AAA games such as The Darkness 2 and BioShock 2, and her expertise in Asian culture has been a tremendous asset in her work as an artist across studios, including Ubisoft and Red 5 Studios.

Below is the transcript of the interview content. Click here to listen. Enjoy!


Game Localization – Art [Featuring Lillian Lee, Game Art Localization Consultant, LAI Global Game Services]

 

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to LocaLAIse this. My name is Michelle Zhao, and I am the Managing Director for Greater China area here at LAI Global Game Services. Today we are very happy to introduce the newest member of our team, Lillian Lee. Lillian is a game artist and is truly an industry veteran. Now she is also working as an art localization specialist for us here at LAI Global Game Services.  So today we are featuring the artistic aspect of Game Localization. Let’s welcome Lillian.

 

Q: Lillian, do you mind simply introducing yourself? As I know, you have worked and lived in China for 8 years and North America for 5 years as a game artist.

A: Hi Everyone, my name is Lillian.  I joined the game industry back in 1999, and I have developed PC, web, mobile, console, and online games in China, the United States and Canada.

During my experience in different countries, I have met so many interesting people and made many projects that I am pretty proud of.

For example: the Virtual life series for PC back in 2000.

More recently: Bioshock 2, Darkness 2 are both console games I have worked on.

And the online sci-fi games: Firefall and Warframe which are still very popular in the current game market.

Q: Now my first question is: What do you find are the most interesting facts as a game industry professional who has worked in the two different cultures?

Well, let me think…I think people in different country’s development studios have different work attitudes and team structures.

 

1.     Work Attitudes
Usually, people in western studios are very creative and very thoughtful.  They have a tendency to dig deeply into a single asset, to focus on certain ideas and to be willing to put more time into lots of ideas. However, hard and creative work always consumes more time to complete, which can make the art design or production take longer than the original schedule.

 

On the other hand, people in eastern companies are more focused on making the product on time with ok quality. They usually do not focus so much on specific ideas. Their goals are to follow what they are told to do and work quickly and finish the work on time ….  so they might not think so much about the depth of content.

 

For example, a Western artist could spend one or two weeks to create an art item in the game while a Chinese game artist might only take 3 or 4 days for the same model.

 

Through this process, I realized that professional developers and artists look at details in different ways. They must be willing to adjust every tiny aspect when it is necessary. That is important when you are willing to make a world class game.

 

2.     Team Structures
In China, most game development teams are divided into very small groups.  For instance one environmental game art team will be made of many small sub-teams.  Each sub-team will contain 4 to 6 team members. So the whole team will have a top leader and several sub team leaders.

 

However in North America, the team organization structure is much flatter. One leader might oversee 15-30 team members.  That brings potential issues. One is that some junior guys might lack sufficient training or help. And, if this leader is not available or is away for a long time, the whole team may panic a little without direction or everyone could be waiting for him before proceeding with the next step. This can affect quality and time.

 

(Different cover art styles for the same game in different markets)

 

Q: It’s good to know those differences. As a game art veteran, could you give us some general tips on Art Internationalization/Localization (western vs. eastern examples)

(Different cover art styles for the same game in different markets)

A: Sure, I can give several tips here:

First, let’s talk about color: color can have different possible meanings to different cultures.

For example: In the west, the color red is considered an aggressive color that makes people think of blood, fire, and other scary elements. A Stop sign is red!! It makes you think of danger.

 

However, in China, red is considered a happy color that represents good elements in holidays especially like the Chinese New Year.  And also for traditional Chinese wedding dress.

 

(Chinese wedding)

To contrast that, let’s talk about the color white. As you know, that is a typical color for western wedding dresses. But in China, white is the color used for traditional funerals.

(Chinese traditional funeral clothes vs Western wedding)

So, we have to think very carefully about what colors are used when you are designing art for different cultures.

 

After that, let’s talk About the Shape:

Hmm, I’d like to use the dragon as a quick example.  The mental image that pops up when I say the word ‘dragon’ is different between western and eastern cultures.

In western tales, the dragon is often pictured as a dinosaur shaped animal. It is wild and scary, it is a fire-breathing monster!!

But, In the east, the dragon has more of an auspicious image. It’s usually a sign of power and good luck. So when you mention a game about dragons, the Chinese will never imagine the same type of dragon perceived in the western society.

In addition, some other things to consider are removing sensitive culture, religious, and political elements. You want to remove those culture tabooswhichmake your audience uncomfortable or could be potentially banned by the government.

(Dragons: East on the Left, West on the Right.)

Q: My next question is: Will certain Logo styles help to sell the game when people are searching on the App Store?

Yes!  That is for sure!!

Hmm, Logos are the first selling window of the game.  You need to make your game stand out quickly in the game logo ocean.   It is essential that you use some bright color and high contrast to draw the player’s attention, like a cute and beautiful style is always very welcome in China, or very unique design to be eye-catching. A good example is Minecraft’s logo matches the simple and unique art style and it blends nicely with the game.  This helps the game stand out visually compared to the other games in the market.

Bottom line, this logo is also part of your game, so it is very important to maintain the same art style and also convey the deep meaning to your game as well.

 

Do you have some additional tips for us in terms of UI and icon design?

A:  I think each game has its own unique style.  But a golden rule is that this style must be meaningful and make a connection to players in different cultures.  When I’m analyzing a game for art localization, I don’t just update the icon or UI with localized text, I dig deeper into why it should be changed and how it should be specifically designed to appeal to a certain target audience. In the meanwhile it must also still match the established style which comes from the original game.

Making a good UI design has so many aspects to it!  This is like asking the question, how do I become a millionaire?  The answer is, there are many paths to reach the same goal, however the same path is not appropriate for every game.

 

So here are a few tips:

  •  First, You’ll need to focus on your intended target audience group.  There’s not one simple solution to cover all situations. It’s a very creative process to customize a localized Logo and UI to the projected market.
  • Then, you have to know what kind of circumstance the player will be in when they are playing a particular game.  Will they play it at home or on the way to somewhere?

For example, in China, many mobile games are played on a shaking bus or metro train.  So, this will affect how they can use the icons and buttons.

It is better to design a simple game UI and icons that are not too complicated.  So:

  • The UI or icons should be designed to be very bright without too many small details or too colorful.  It is very easy to wear your eyes out during these moving conditions, and there are moments where it is hard for your fingers to press a button accurately.  People might get annoyed very quickly.

 

  • On the other side, all buttons should be easy to find. Most of the time, people are playing games just to relax and enjoy a little spare time. If the game screen is too busy, it’s hard to press precisely or even difficult to find where the button is.  If that happens, you will lose this player forever in just a few minutes.

 

All in all, it is very important to have a deep understanding of each particular game you are working on while doing the localization. This understanding will help you make better UI and icons that match the existing game as well as help to consolidate the whole game play experience!

 

Q: From your observation, what are the art style preferences in the different game markets you’ve worked for (west vs. east)?

 

A: In the Chinese market, the mainstream art style is cute and beautiful. However, in the West, we often find more varieties in art style.  So as a general rule, in China, people prefer only a very few particular art styles.

At the same time, we believe the definition of beauty also needs to be localized  For example: Shrek and Mulan. Those are popular cartoon images in US. However in China, people might consider they are not that pretty because of how they look. Shrek is neither cute, nor handsome. Many Chinese audiences don’t think Mulan in the Disney movie represents an Asian beauty in their eyes. Mulan is a very famous story in China, so people all expect that she should be very beautiful and brave.

(Mulan -Disney vs.a Chinese version)

(Mulan’s image from the Chinese movie Hua Mulan)

In China, many Chinese players find Japanese or Korean cartoon styles cute and perfectly beautiful characters very appealing.  The reason behind this is in China in earlier times, most players could not afford a gaming console and also it really was not accessible.  So many players have a long history of playing free Korean or Japanese online games or watching Japanese cartoon TV series.  People are quite familiar with those styles after so many years of exposure.

To help you visualize the art styles let me give you a few examples:

Japanese Games

  • SAGA2, Secret of Mana, and the very famous one: Final Fantasy series

Korean Game

  • Blade & Soul and AION.

Japanese Cartoons

  • Mobile Suit Gundam, Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball.

(A comparison between US and Japanese version of a very popular Japanese show)

Another significant group of popular games are ones themed in ancient Chinese history stories. These games are usually supported by the government because they are considered to carry forward history and culture. So those game themes and style are very popular in China as well.

 

Q: Last question: As a native Chinese speaker, what are your suggestions for a western game going into Chinese market?

A: Well, I know that in China, because the population is so huge, all public facilities including the transportation system are crowded. Waiting in queues is very common in everyday life. In the larger cities, people will consistently spend one or two hours commuting.  While waiting in the queue or transferring to the bus or metro, people play games to make this time more enjoyable. It’s important to design mobile game modes around these typical settings.

Here are few tips:

  1. The game is not very complicated.  It should be very easy to handle in just a few minutes from the start.
  2. The game has an on-hold function.  This allows players to easily get into and out of the game for a short time. Like getting off the bus or getting on the bus.
  3. With slow or limited internet access during commute or waiting time, people can still play certain social or online games without noticing the poor connection.
  4. The game could do better if they connected with Chinese social media like Weibo, Renren or Wechat. Which helps the players in their own social circle to play the game and communicate all the time.
  5. In China game playing is very limited to a certain group of people.  A majority of the players are in the age range of 6-28 years old. This demographic has a high impact on the desired art style – cute and beautiful, which makes the popular art style lean towards a younger crowd.
  • On the other side, because of the population size, people in China are highly competitive. This is seen through how they compare their social status with each other through their cars, clothing, and even games.  When it comes to games what matters most is who has the better weapons, armors, scores, and even nicer in-game skins.
  • Games will need to offer possible functions like a ranking list, different item levels, different skin styles, armor, and special items to purchase.
  • Oh, I have to mention this: Showing off is really an important ability to lot of Chinese game players. That is the whole reason why free to play online games are so popular! There is a new word:  Chinese pronunciation:土豪 (English meaning: The new money or newly rich),those people are establishing their online virtual social status by buying so many expensive and super cool weapons or skins. Yeah, I know it sounds quite crazy, but it is a true phenomena really happening everyday In China’s game world.

Oh, don’t forget, In China, obeying government policy is very vital because if a game contains porn, violence, or bloody content, it will be permanently banned.

(Final Fantasy art style is viewed as perfectly beautiful in many Asian eyes.)

Conclusion

All in all, think deeply and carefully about the following questions when you are considering localizing a western game for the Chinese market:

  1. Who are the major players you are aiming for?
  2. What are their game play habits?
  3. What does their lifestyle look like?
  4. What are their favorite images, styles, stories and game prototypes?
  5. What are their game consumption habits?
  6. What type of game design would players play for one day? One week? One month? One year or even longer?
  7. How do you want to build user retention within a game?

Once you can clearly answer all of these questions, I think you are good to go!

 

Lillian, Thank you very much for joining us and sharing your tips and experience about Art Localization today. We’ve learned a lot from you about art design in the east and west, and Does and Don’ts while East Meets West.

For our podcast followers, thanks for listening. We hope you find today’s podcast interesting and useful. If you have any questions or comments, please contact us by emails. Our email address is info@lai.com

 

Thanks again, we will see you soon.

 

 

关注主机游戏:中国上海自贸区文化市场开放细则

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

1月初,中国政府解除了长达13年的游戏主机生产和销售禁令,给中国游戏市场未来注入一支新的兴奋剂。4月21日,上海市政府公布了《中国(上海)自由贸易试验区文化市场开放项目实施细则》。LAI在此转载,内容摘自上海市政府网站:

http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/shanghai/node2314/node2319/node12344/u26ai38861.html

英文版请查看:

Detailed Implementation Rules for Cultural Market Opening in the China (Shanghai) Free Trade Zone

市政府办公厅印发市文广影视局等制订的《中国(上海)自由贸易试验区文化市场开放项目实施细则》

沪府办发〔2014〕18号
上海市人民政府办公厅关于印发市文广影视局等五部门制订的《中国(上海)自由贸易试验区文化市场开放项目实施细则》的通知

各区、县人民政府,市政府各委、办、局:
市文广影视局、市工商局、市质量技监局、上海海关、中国(上海)自由贸易试验区管委会制订的《中国(上海)自由贸易试验区文化市场开放项目实施细则》已经市政府同意,现印发给你们,请认真按照执行。
上海市人民政府办公厅
2014年4月10日
中国(上海)自由贸易试验区文化市场开放项目实施细则


根据《国务院关于印发中国(上海)自由贸易试验区总体方案的通知》(国发〔2013〕38号)、《国务院关于在中国(上海)自由贸易试验区内暂时调整有关行政法规和国务院文件规定的行政审批或者准入特别管理措施的决定》(国发〔2013〕51号)和《文化部关于实施中国(上海)自由贸易试验区文化市场管理政策的通知》(文市发〔2013〕47号),制定本实施细则。
一、允许外资企业从事游戏游艺设备的生产和销售,通过文化主管部门内容审查的游戏游艺设备可面向国内市场销售。
(一)中国(上海)自由贸易试验区(以下简称“自贸试验区”)内取得工商部门核发的营业执照且营业执照经营范围载明“生产游戏游艺设备及销售其产品”的外商投资企业,可向市文广影视局申请内容审查。
(二)向国内市场销售的游戏游艺设备,应当具有合法知识产权,有利于传播科学、艺术、人文知识,有益于青少年健康成长。不得含有《娱乐场所管理条例》(国令〔2006〕458号)第十三条的禁止内容,不得含有押分、退币、退钢珠等赌博功能。设备外观、游戏内容、游戏方法说明应当使用我国通用语言文字。
(三)从事游戏游艺设备的生产和销售的外商投资企业申请内容审查时,应当提交预装游戏内容的游戏游艺设备和以下材料:

 


1.《游戏游艺机市场准入机型机种内容审核申请表》和《游戏游艺机产品内容审核材料登记表》;
2.企业营业执照复印件;
3.与游戏游艺内容相关的知识产权证明材料,包括该游戏游艺产品的知识产权证明文件或者该游戏游艺产品的知识产权授权文件;
4.游戏游艺设备中内容全过程的视频文件或者游戏游艺软件的视频演示(DEMO)文件,视频文件或者视频演示文件是指游戏游艺设备最终上市版本中的所有游戏游艺内容,包括不会在正常游戏进行过程中出现的内容的视频文件(以CD-ROM或DVD光盘为载体);
5.能够反映产品整体外观并与实际销售产品一致的电子图片,其中,一张正面图,两张侧面图,格式统一为“*.JPG”,图片分辨率不低于800×600;
6.游戏游艺使用的音频文件、名称列表和歌词的电子文本,电子文本应当是游戏游艺设备中使用的全部背景音乐、歌曲的名称列表、音频文件和歌词的中外文对照文本;
7.游戏游艺内容中全部对白、旁白、描述性文字以及操作说明的中外文电子文本;
8.为游戏游艺设备提供游戏游艺内容的方案,其中,在网络上为游戏游艺设备提供游戏内容的,应当提交提供游戏内容的企业的《网络文化经营许可证》。


(四)市文广影视局应当自受理申请之日起20个工作日内作出审批决定。符合规定条件的,出具《游戏游艺设备内容审核确认单》,并报文化部备案;不符合规定条件的,书面说明理由。
(五)外商投资企业取得《游戏游艺设备内容审核确认单》后,可以向国内市场销售其游戏游艺设备。游戏游艺设备的游戏游艺内容、机型、机种有升级、改版等实质性变更的,应当重新向市文广影视局申请内容审查。
(六)外商投资企业应当对其生产及销售的游戏游艺设备的产品质量负责,产品应当符合国家和本市有关标准和规定。在向国内市场销售的产品及其包装上,应当用中文标明产品名称、生产厂厂名和地址。
(七)向国内销售其游戏游艺设备的外商投资企业在办理游戏游艺设备内销手续时,除按照正常管理规定办理海关手续外,还应当向海关部门一并提交市文广影视局出具的《游戏游艺设备内容审核确认单》。
(八)在网络上为游戏游艺设备提供游戏内容的企业应当遵守文化部发布的《互联网文化管理暂行规定》、《网络游戏管理暂行办法》规定,取得《网络文化经营许可证》;游戏产品应当取得文化部的批准文件。通过其他途径为游戏游艺设备提供内容的按照国家有关规定执行。
(九)工商部门、质量技监部门和海关按照各自职能,行使相关管理职责。自贸试验区管理委员会(以下简称“自贸试验区管委会”)负责有关外资企业的日常监管。


二、取消外资演出经纪机构的股比限制,允许设立外商独资演出经纪机构,在上海市行政区域内提供服务。
(一)自贸试验区内取得工商部门核发的营业执照的外商投资企业,可向市文广影视局申请演出经纪机构《营业性演出许可证》和演出场所经营单位备案证明。其中,设立合资、合作演出经纪机构和演出场所,不受外国投资者的外资股比限制。
(二)外商投资演出经纪机构申请《营业性演出许可证》的,应当提交以下材料:
1.《设立演出经纪机构申请登记表》;
2.企业营业执照复印件;
3.3名以上专职演出经纪人员的资格证书。
(三)市文广影视局自受理申请之日起20个工作日内作出审批决定。准予许可的,核发《营业性演出许可证》;不予许可的,书面说明理由。
(四)外商投资企业在自贸试验区服务贸易区域内设立演出场所的,应当自取得营业执照之日起20个工作日内,向市文广影视局申请备案,并提交以下材料:
1.《演出场所经营单位备案表》;
2.企业营业执照复印件;
3.消防、卫生等行政管理部门的批准文件复印件;
4.演出场所的方位图与内部平面图。
(五)自贸试验区内依法设立的演出经纪机构举办营业性演出活动的,按照下列规定办理:
1.在自贸试验区内举办营业性演出的,应当向自贸试验区管委会提出申请。其中,对举办国内文艺表演团体与演员参加的营业性演出的,自贸试验区管委会应当自受理申请之日起3个工作日内作出决定。对举办涉外及涉港澳台营业性演出的,自贸试验区管委会应当自受理申请之日起20个工作日内作出决定。
2.在自贸试验区外、上海市行政区域内举办涉外或涉港澳台营业性演出的,应当向市文广影视局提出申请,市文广影视局应当自受理申请之日起20个工作日内作出决定。举办国内文艺表演团体与演员参加的营业性演出的,应当向演出举办所在地的区(县)文化行政部门提出申请,区(县)文化行政部门应当自受理申请之日起3个工作日内作出决定。
(六)自贸试验区内依法设立的演出场所在本场所内举办营业性演出的,应当向自贸试验区管委会提出申请,自贸试验区管委会应当自受理申请之日起3个工作日内作出决定。
三、允许设立外商独资的娱乐场所,在自贸试验区内提供服务。
(一)自贸试验区内取得工商部门核发的营业执照的外商投资企业,可向自贸试验区管委会申请《娱乐经营许可证》。外商投资娱乐场所在筹建阶段,可向自贸试验区管委会咨询,自贸试验区管委会应当依法为外资企业提供指导。
(二)外商投资企业在自贸试验区服务贸易区域内设立娱乐场所的,应当符合《娱乐场所管理条例》(国令〔2006〕458号)、《娱乐场所管理办法》(文化部令〔2013〕55号)等法规、规章规定的设立条件,并向自贸试验区管委会提交相关申请材料。自贸试验区管委会自受理申请之日起20个工作日内作出决定。准予许可的,核发《娱乐经营许可证》;不予许可的,书面说明理由。


四、外商投资企业从事游戏游艺设备生产和销售情况、外商投资演出经纪机构、演出场所、娱乐场所的经营活动情况,纳入上海文化市场经营主体诚信管理体系。
五、香港特别行政区、澳门特别行政区、台湾地区投资者和在国外居住的中国公民在自贸试验区内设立企业从事游戏游艺设备生产和销售、设立演出经纪机构、演出场所和娱乐场所的,适用本实施细则。
六、本实施细则自印发之日起施行。
上海市文化广播影视管理局
上海市工商行政管理局
上海市质量技术监督局
中华人民共和国上海海关
中国(上海)自由贸易试验区管理委员会
2014年3月31日

Detailed Implementation Rules for Cultural Market Opening in the China (Shanghai) Free Trade Zone

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

In January 2014, China lifted a thirteen-year ban on the sale and manufacture of gaming consoles. This has generated great excitement about the future of the video game industry in China. On April 21, the government of Shanghai announced Detailed Implementation Rules for Cultural Market Opening in the China (Shanghai) Free Trade Zone. As many of us interested to see the content in English, LAI translated its Chinese version [1] from the Shanghai municipal government website.

Translator: Chung-Kuan John Chen

Editor: Michelle Zhao

Detailed Implementation Rules for Cultural Market Opening in the China (Shanghai) Free Trade Zone

These Implementation Rules have been written in accordance with the State Council’s Notice on Releasing the Comprehensive Plan for the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, the State Council’s Decision to Temporarily Adjust Relevant Administrative Laws and State Council Regulated Special Administrative Measures for Approval or Access in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, and the Ministry of Culture’s Notice on Implementing Cultural Market Management Policies in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone.

I. Foreign-invested enterprises may engage in the production and sales of game and entertainment devices. Game and entertainment devices may be sold to the domestic market after passing content review by the relevant authorities.

 

(I) Foreign-invested enterprises that have obtained licenses from the commercial authorities in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (hereafter known as the Pilot FTZ), and whose licenses state that their business includes “manufacturing and selling game and entertainment products,” may submit their products to content review by the Municipal Administration of Culture, Radio, Film, and TV.

 

(II) Game and entertainment devices and related products sold in the domestic market should not infringe on intellectual property rights, and should aid in the dissemination of scientific, artistic, and cultural knowledge, benefiting the healthy development of young people. Products may not contain content banned by Article 13 of the Entertainment Venue Management Law, nor may they allow for point betting, coin return, token return, or other gambling features. Text on the product itself, in games, and in instructions should be in the Chinese language.

(III) Foreign-invested enterprises engaged in the manufacture and sales of game consoles should submit the following documents along with physical copies of the product pre-loaded with the game content when applying for content review:

 

1. The Application Form for Content Review for Game Console Market Access and the Game Console Content Review Document Checklist.

2. A photocopy of the company’s business license.

3. Documents to prove that the game and entertainment device and any game content complies with intellectual property laws, including proof of intellectual property ownership or licensing.

4. Video files or demonstrations of all video content contained within the product. This refers to all content in the final retail version of the product, including video content that does not appear in normal game play. (Files should be submitted on CD-ROM or DVD.)

5. Electronic images that reflect and match the final retail version of the product. There should be one image of the product’s front and two of the product’s sides. The images should be submitted in JPG format with a resolution no lower than 800×600 pixels.

 

6. Audio files of background music and songs contained in the product, as well as song title lists and electronic text files of lyrics in both Chinese and foreign-language versions.

7. Electronic text of all dialogue, narration, descriptions, and instructions in the product, in Chinese and foreign-language versions.

8. A plan to provide content for the game device. If the plan involves providing content online, Online Cultural Operations Licenses for content providers should also be submitted.

(IV) The Municipal Administration of Culture, Radio, Film, and TV should reach a decision in its review within 20 workdays of the application being received. Products that pass the review will receive a Game Device Content Review Confirmation Form, which will also be filed with the Ministry of Culture. Products that do not pass the review will receive a written explanation of the reasons.

 

(V) After the foreign-invested enterprise receives the Game Device Content Review Confirmation Form, it may begin selling its game and entertainment console in the domestic market. If there are changes or upgrades in the product’s content, model, or make, the product should undergo another content review by the Municipal Administration of Culture, Radio, Film, and TV.

 

(VI) The foreign-invested enterprise is responsible for ensuring the quality of the game device it manufactures and sells. The product should adhere to all relevant standards and rules set by the central and municipal government. All products sold on the domestic market should carry the product name, manufacturer name, and manufacturer address in Chinese on both the product itself and the packaging.

 

(VII) Foreign-invested enterprises which sell game devices to the domestic market should submit a copy of the Game Device Content Review Confirmation Form to customs in addition to the usual customs procedures.

 

(VIII) Companies that supply content for game devices online should obtain an Online Cultural Operation License in accordance with the regulations set out by the Ministry of Culture in the Provisional Rules for Cultural Management on the Internet and the Provisional Guidelines for Managing Online Games. All game products should be licensed by the Ministry of Culture. Companies that supply content through other means should also follow relevant regulations.

 

(IX) Commercial, quality supervision, and customs authorities should administer their respective duties in regulating these foreign-invested enterprises. The Pilot Free Trade Zone Administrative Committee (hereafter known as the Administrative Committee) will be responsible for the day-to-day supervision of relevant foreign-invested enterprises.

II. Equity ratio restrictions are abolished for foreign-invested entertainment artists’  agencies. The establishment of wholly owned foreign entertainment artists’ agencies are now permitted, and they may provide services within the municipality of Shanghai.

 

(I) Foreign-invested enterprises in the Pilot FTZ that have obtained business licenses from the commercial authorities may apply for a commercial performance license for entertainment artists’ agencies and performance venue operator certificate from the Municipal Administration of Culture, Radio, Film, and TV.  Foreign shareholder equity ratio restrictions do not apply to jointly owned or collaborative entertainment artists’ agencies and performance venues.

 

(II) Foreign-invested entertainment artists’ agencies that wish to apply for a commercial performance license should submit the following documents:

 

1.  The Entertainment Artists’ Agency Establishment Application Form.

2. A photocopy of the company’s business license.

3. Certificates for at least 3 entertainment agents working full-time at the agency.

 

(III) The Municipal Administration of Culture, Radio, Film, and TV should reach a decision in its review within 20 workdays of the application being received. Agencies that pass the review will receive a commercial performance license. Agencies that do not pass the review will receive a written explanation of the reasons.

(IV) Foreign-invested enterprises that wish to establish performance venues in the Pilot FTZ’s service trade sector should file with the Bureau of Culture, Radio, Film, and TV within 20 workdays of obtaining their business license. The following documents should be submitted:

 

1. The Performance Venue Operator Filing Form.

2. A photocopy of the company’s business license.

3. Photocopies of approval documents from the fire safety and public health authorities.

4. Maps and interior plans of the performance venue.

 

(V) Legally established entertainment artists’ agencies in the Pilot FTZ that organize commercial performances should adhere to the following regulations:

 

1. Commercial performances in the Pilot FTZ require the approval of the Administrative Committee. For performances by domestic groups and artists, the Administrative Committee should reach a decision within 3 workdays of the request; for performances involving groups or artists from foreign countries, Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan, the Administrative Committee should reach a decision within 20 workdays of the request.

2. Commercial performances involving groups or artists from foreign countries, Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan require the approval of the Bureau of Culture, Radio, Film, and TV. The Bureau should reach a decision within 20 workdays of the request. Commercial performances by domestic groups or artists require the approval of the cultural authority of the district or county in which the performance takes place. The authority should reach a decision within 3 workdays of the request.

 

(VI) Commercial performances in performance venues legally established in the Pilot FTZ require the approval of the Administrative Committee. The Administrative Committee should reach a decision within 3 workdays of the request

 

III. Wholly-owned foreign entertainment venues may provide services in the Pilot FTZ.

 

(I) Foreign-invested enterprises in the Pilot FTZ that have obtained business licenses from the commercial authorities may apply for an entertainment operation license from the Administrative Committee. During the planning and construction stages, the enterprise may consult with the Administrative Committee.  The Committee should provide guidance according to relevant laws and regulations.

 

(II) Foreign-invested enterprises that wish to establish entertainment venues in the Pilot FTZ should fulfill the conditions as set by laws and regulations including the Entertainment Venue Management Law and the Entertainment Venue Management Rules. The Administrative Committee should reach a decision within 20 workdays of the request for approval.  Enterprises that receive approval will receive an entertainment operation license. Enterprises that do not receive approval will receive a written explanation of the reasons.

 

IV. The manufacturing and sale of game and entertainment devices by foreign-invested enterprises, as well as the operations of foreign-invested entertainment artists’ agencies, performance venues, and entertainment venues, will be part of the integrity management system of the Shanghai cultural market.

 

V. These rules also apply to investors from the Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan region, as well as Chinese citizens from overseas, who wish to establish enterprises in the Pilot FTZ to manufacture and sell game and entertainment consoles or establish entertainment artists’ agencies, performance venues, and entertainment venues.

 

VI. These rules come into force starting on the day of public release.

 

Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Culture, Radio, Film, and TV

Shanghai Administration for Industry and Commerce

Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision

People’s Republic of China Shanghai Customs

China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone Administrative Committee



[1] http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/shanghai/node2314/node2319/node12344/u26ai38861.html

How To Be A B2B Pro When Working With Chinese Mobile Game Companies

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

How To Be A B2B Pro When Working With Chinese Mobile Game Companies

By Michelle Zhao, Managing Director – Greater China, LAI Global Game Services

Before we get into the data, let’s take a look around China:

Waiting in queues

In the subway car

The lucrative market

By the end of 2013, China had a $13 billion revenue game industry and 490 million players according to GPC, the China Game Publishers Association Publications Committee. Accounting for $1.8 billion, with 310 million mobile gamers, the mobile gaming market has been especially hot, seeing the largest growth in 2013 after rising 246.9% from the previous year. With the open policy of 4G license issuing (Dec. 2013) and economic growth in 2nd and 3rd tier cities, more people are expected to play mobile games. It is estimated that hardcore mobile games will be taking over half of the mobile game market in 2014. (Hardcore game mobile growth: 8% in 2008, 42% in 2013, 52% est. in 2014[1])

(From Newzoo’s report on Chinese Video Game Market 2013)

Though a business partner is not required for mobile games (according to Chinese law, foreign companies must partner with a Chinese service provider to run their online games in the country), the complex and highly fragmented market structure raises the bar extremely high for foreign companies to enter. Many times, local partners and 3rd party agencies are necessary to assist you with localization and publishing.

Characteristics of the market

 The Chinese mobile game market shows different characteristics from western markets:

 

  • Most Chinese mobile gamers started playing online games first, so they are more into games with interactive modes (playing with groups, or pvp fighting).

 

  • There are over 200 publishing and distribution platforms and stores in China. Since Google Play is not widely available in China and the Android market has captured over half of the market, major app stores like 360 Mobile Assistant, Tencent MyApp, Wandoujia, UC AppStore, Gfan Market, the Baidu app store, Anzhi Market, and Alibaba are considered the key to the market.

  • Android stores operated by the three main mobile carriers (China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom) have a very significant market share (up to 30% by some estimates[2]); carrier billing is the dominant billing channel for Android apps.

 

  • Revenue share doesn’t favor game developers (just last year it was between 90/10 and 50/50 publisher/developer) but it is getting better for developers.

 

  • Preloading by handset manufacturers plays an important role in distribution.

 

How to approach developers and publishers

 

Mobile game developers in China often work in teams of 10-15, or sometimes even smaller. With limited capital and unfavorable revenue share, they seek publishers to put up all the money (revenue share and a minimum distribution guarantee) so they are often passive during negotiations.

 

As mentioned earlier, publishing a mobile game in China is more complex than in the West due in part to the number of app stores, overlapping roles of publisher/app store/3rd party companies, and multiple revenue shares. Publishers usually lead the marketing campaigns, and perform other necessary adaptations and efforts.

 

Talk the talk

 

The most frequent word you will hear spoken by industry people at industry gatherings is “distribution channel” (“Qudao” or“渠道”). Compared to its neighbor Japan, China has more variety in terms of marketing and distribution channels. In Japan, the marketing approach is more straightforward: 3 to 4 marketing companies and ads on TV (6 channels). Game quality speaks more than distribution. However, in China, the big players show their own prowess to sell their games: Punchbox (Chukong) will seek money from VCs and make huge investments on ads; Tencent uses its platform to get all the consumers’ attention; Shanda puts more effort on branding their games.

 

English acronyms are often used in China as industry jargon. However, be aware of the differences– they might not mean what you think. Here are a few examples: At a game show event in the B2B area, you will often hear lots of BDs (business development folks) say they’re looking for “CP”. “CP” here stands for “content provider”. However, it is actually equivalent to “game developer” in English-speaking markets.

 

Another common term is “SP” (service provider), which refers to companies who offer B2B services such as monetization, app store optimization, and in-game ads.

Also, some famous mobile game titles are often referred to by acronyms like “COC” for “Clash of Clans”. Similar acronyms are often used when referring to game genre.

 

Cities

 

  • Beijing: This is where more established companies and many indie gamers are located. Zhongguan Village is considered to be the next Silicon Valley by many international investors.
  • Shanghai and surrounding area: Also has more established companies.  Usually companies have their marketing office in Shanghai and R&D in neighboring cities, Suzhou and Hangzhou.
  • Chengdu: Tianfu Software Park is where most video game companies reside. Bigger companies like Perfect World, Tencent, Ubisoft and Shanda have their R&D center or development team here. This area also has many smaller, newer companies, many with an overseas market focus.
  • Guangzhou and Shengzhen: This area has many game developers who were originally in the online game business, and are now shifting focus into mobile gaming.
  • Nanjing: Big carrier companies have their gaming operations here.
  • Dalian: Many video game and software parks with a long outsourcing history are located here (a large percentage are devoted to IT outsourcing for Japan).

Major conferences/shows and inside-circle parties

 

Shanghai: ChinaJoy (largest, national), Game Connection Asia, GDC-Asia

Beijing: GMIC, GMGC, TFC

Chengdu: GMGDC

Guangzhou: Guangzhou Game Show

 

Inside-circle parties are usually hosted by large publishing companies during a conference or show week. Sometimes they are closed-door events. You often need to get an invite from a connection/friend in the industry and pre-register, as the seats are limited. Be prepared for a huge crowd and bring a few hundred business cards and a happy face. Usually there are no rules about formal dress, and most attendees come dressed in business casual. Some events are hosted in a casual atmosphere: a huge café shop, a roof club, or even in nightclubs. As a well-connected industry BD (business developer) during a major conference week, it’s common to attend several parties in one night. For example, last GMGDC (Nov. 2013 in Chengdu), there were 20 inside-circle parties in 4 nights. A well-connected BD in China knows who is the key contact of your potential partner/clients to talk to and always follows the market trends and their competitors’ next move.

 

Social Media

 

WeChat groups (US equivalent: WhatsApp): you can register a few local game community groups and add friends here. Each day you can monitor what is going on by reading their posts.

QQ group chat (US equivalent: skype): Some event organizers will invite you to join their chat group too, e.g.: ChinaJoy.

Weibo (US equivalent: Twitter)

Doubai/Renren (US equivalent: Google+/Facebook)

Buzz.com (US equivalent: Meetup)

(Social Media Marketing Channels in China in 2014)

 

Know how to follow up

 

Chinese B2B contacts appreciate more direct communication compared to the West. Many of them prefer to keep in contact with you via phone and WeChat.

 

The video game industry is a young industry in China, and so is the average age of its industry professionals (born in 1980s and 1990s). It is not hard to start a conversation as almost everyone in the industry carries a passion for games and an open mind to new things. However, one thing you often find is that these highly mobile professionals won’t stay with one company for too long. I know of a few cases where people changed their email address after only 3 months – because they had already changed employers! At a party, someone once told me they considered themselves to be an industry veteran because they stayed with one company for a surprisingly long time – two entire years(!)

 

When making contacts at Chinese game companies, the BD is the first person you’ll talk to. Once they understand your purpose to engage with their company (or say they are convinced that your service provides potential value to them), they will refer you to the director of the internal department you are interested in talking to.

 

Though most industry professionals are from the younger generation and many have studied overseas, you still can’t ignore the importance of Guanxi (connections) when you are doing business in China. It is a unique skill to have – it is a combination of art and techniques of building your network with real work, friendship, trust, favors, dinners, and parties.

 

Final remarks

 

Chinese companies view western companies as prestigious but they tend to worry that foreigners do not understand the business culture necessary to get work done in China. Larger companies or some small companies whose founders have overseas experience should be able to communicate with English-speaking companies adequately, but for deeper engagement and networking, it is necessary that you have some employees who are proficient in Chinese. If that’s not feasible, you should consider working through 3rd party companies who have the expertise and the necessary language skills.

 

LAI Global Game Services (a unit of Language Automation, Inc.) can help you navigate the complex business climate and marketing and publishing challenges needed to achieve success in the China market.

 

Feel free to contact me directly (michelle@lai.com) and I’ll be happy to provide assistance and guidance.

 

 



[1] Data from App Operation Group (App运营之家, A Chinese industry WeChat group)

[2] Reference: Newzoo’s  2014 China Games Market Trend Report

Video Games & Global Valentine’s Day Traditions, Part 1

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

A Brief History of Valentine’s Day

 

To-morrow is Saint Valentine’s day,

All in the morning betime,

And I a maid at your window,

To be your Valentine.

Then up he rose, and donn’d his clothes,

And dupp’d the chamber-door;

Let in the maid, that out a maid

Never departed more.

-          Hamlet

 

Valentine’s Day is already here! To some people, it means doing something romantic for a loved one. And to some game developers, it means adding holiday-themed content to their games. This may mean adding hearts, Cupid arrows, and pink items, such as in Angry Birds Seasons, or it may mean letter and gift deliveries depending on relationships with in-game characters, such as in Animal Crossing.

 

The holiday, as we know it today, is said to have its roots in 14th century England. According to scholars, February 14th first became associated with love and romance thanks to Geoffrey Chaucer, the “Father of English literature” and notable poet of the Middle Ages. Chaucer’s writing supposedly incorporates the first written record of Valentine’s Day:

 

For this was on seynt Volantynys day

              Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.

-          Parlement of Foules (1382)

 

There are many legends and stories associated with the birth of this holiday, including feasts that gave rise to courtly love and the belief in the Middle Ages that birds actually paired couples together. Over the centuries, Valentine’s Day evolved into a day to express love to others via flowers, candies, and cards, spreading from Medieval England to other parts of Europe and, more recently, to Asia, which is often attributed to the spread of American pop culture, as some Valentine’s Day celebrations didn’t begin until just a couple decades ago.

 

Although this holiday is now in many countries around the world, it certainly doesn’t mean the day is celebrated uniformly throughout. While many people globally are familiar with the way Americans celebrate Valentine’s Day, that doesn’t mean gamers in every country know of American Valentine traditions or would even appreciate the integration of these customs in local video games.

 

In this multi-part article, we will cover the different ways Valentine’s Day is celebrated internationally and how game content based on real-world traditions necessitates adaption (or localization) for each given market:

 

 

Age-Old Tradition of Romance – China

China’s equivalent of Valentine’s Day stretches back many centuries to the Han Dynasty (a dynasty lasting from 206BC to 220AD). This celebration is known as the Qi Xi Festival, and it takes place on the 7th day of the 7th month of the Chinese lunar calendar (this year on August 2nd). (It is also called the Magpie or Double Seventh Festival.)

 

There are multiple legends surrounding this holiday. These legends speak of two lovers, the Cowherd (Niu Lang) and Weaver Maid (Zhi Nu), who are only able to cross the Milky Way once a year in order to be together. One legend says that the Weaver Girl came down from heaven to marry the Cowherd and have children with him, but when the God of Heaven realized this had happened, he ordered Queen Mother of the Western Heavens to return Zhi Nu back to the heavens. Another legend says that Niu Lang and Zhi Nu were fairies on the opposite sides of the Milky Way, and when they were together, they would neglect their work, so the Jade Emperor of Heaven only permitted them to meet once a year.

 

Game Examples

There are many aspects of Chinese legend and history that game developers can draw upon when creating game content for the Chinese market, and Chinese gamers respond positively to this cultural content. Thus, numerous games have been created for the Qi Xi Festival. Perhaps a more well-known game example is from Google. Last year, Google released a Google Doodle game for the Qi Xi Festival, where users create a bridge of magpies so the two lovers can meet.

 

Larger games, like MMOs, also work to incorporate local content when possible. There is an MMO set in ancient China, Conquer Online, that had a Qi Xi quest a couple years ago, where players gathered items and summoned the magpies to bring “happiness to the Herd-boy and the Weaving-girl.” This kind of culturally-focused content tends to have positive effects on sales, as gamers appreciate game content that incorporates local traditions.

 

While it is now common for women to receive chocolate or flowers on White Day, in some parts of China, traditional aspects of the Qi Xi festival are still celebrated, with girls displaying their domestic skills. Common celebrations in the past for girls included competitions for threading needles under low light conditions, praying to Zhi Nu for wisdoms, reciting prayers, and wishing for a good future husband. In addition to competitions for young girls, the Qi Xi Festival was also a time of celebration for newlyweds. Young women would also place fruit, flowers, tea, and face powder out for Niu Lang and Zhi Nu, throwing half of the face powder onto the roof and using the other half amongst themselves, signifying shared beauty with Zhi Nu.

 

 

Beware! – Not Everyone Celebrates Valentine’s Day

When bringing Valentine’s Day-themed content to other countries, it is crucial to keep in mind that there are a number of countries that do not permit Valentine’s Day celebrations, due to religious beliefs and/or political parties. This is because some people believe Valentine’s Day has associations with Christianity or is symbolic of the penetration of Western culture.

 

It is important to keep this in mind and to learn which countries do not allow the celebration of Valentine’s Day, as often the sale of red items, romantic cards, flowers, and other such gifts is banned (such as in Saudi Arabia). There have even been reports of protesters and volunteers in some countries attacking couples and burning Valentine’s Day cards (such as in India). Despite the widespread animosity toward the holiday in some areas of the world, some couples in these countries may celebrate Valentine’s Day in the privacy of their homes, buying flowers and gifts on the black market or vacationing in a country like Dubai in order to celebrate the day.

 

It follows that Valentine-related content would not go over well in countries where there is unrest surrounding the holiday. Instead, game developers that typically create holiday-themed game content (such as Rovio) find other ways to stay relevant across global markets. It was reported last year by IGN that Rovio is studying the Middle East in order to effectively communicate stories from the region. As Rovio’s COO, Harri Koponen said, “There is a long Arabic history and lots of interesting stories that need to be told in the region, like One Thousand and One Nights. We are always developing more local content – we have been focusing on themes recently.”

 

While Valentine content could cause intense problems when released in certain parts of the world, there are ways to pay homage to historical traditions without unintentionally making a cultural or political statement with the inclusion of the Western version of the holiday in games. For example, game developers looking to integrate local traditions related to love and romance may look to ancient India, where the Kamadeva, the Lord of Love, was celebrated.

 

 

In the next part of this article, we will take a closer look at other global traditions surrounding love, romance, and Valentine’s Day.

从游戏本地化视角看新兴的中国游戏机市场

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

从游本地化角看新的中国游机市

作者:赵梦雪,美国LAI(Language Automation, Inc.)大中华区执行长

Rory Schussler, 特别通讯员

译者:赵梦雪

 

一月初,中国政府解除了长达13年的游戏主机生产和销售禁令,给中国游戏市场未来注入一支新的兴奋剂。然而, 面对这个机会,要想知道大型游戏主机厂商是否能成功把握,还时机尚早。(任天堂表示至今未有进入中国市场的计划,索尼雄心勃勃,计划在2014年3月出售500万台PS4 。)政策的修改细节还未颁布。内容限制会对游戏设计造成问题。盗版和水货市场也令人担忧。摆在我们面前的最大的挑战,是如果适应独特的中国市场。

让我们把镜头转向13年前,任天堂的马里奥给中国的小朋友们带来诸多欢乐,这一点和美国的情形毫无差异。但当中国向主机游戏市场关掉大门时起,世界的其他地方却进入了被称为第六代游戏机时代。索尼的Playstation 2 ,微软的Xbox和任天堂GameCube成三国鼎力之势。游戏行业自始而来,游戏大多都针对男性(青年和大龄儿童)开发。目标受众,也就是如今所称的“铁杆(hardcore)玩家” 要求复杂且具有挑战性的游戏,同时画面感也要极好。尽管在行业拥有最久的历史,并有知名的专营连锁,任天堂在当时却落后于它的竞争对手。2005年,当业界继续将相同的设计理念应用于新一代游戏机时,任天堂却用了一条不同的策略。Wii的开发与传统制造智慧背道而驰,让任天堂发现了一个曾经被忽略的全新的市场。与Xbox 360和PlayStation 3相比,任天堂发布了一个不那么强大的主机与一个完全不同的运动控制系统。简单而直观的游戏一炮打响了家庭和大龄市场。任天堂在硬件上节约了成本, 其销售更胜过了它的竞争对手,其结果是索尼和微软在几年后都纷纷效仿,推出了自己的运动控制系统 。

 

类似的情形再次重现。一个14亿人口市场向我们开放。根据IDC分析认为,一旦禁令被完全解除,在未来几年,中国将称为最大的游戏机市场。摆在我们面前的问题是,怎样的创新和策略能用来获取这曾被忽略的玩家市场。要赢得中国玩家,优质的本地化是必要的。做好优质的本地化游戏产品, 可以从以下几个方面来考虑:文化调节,法律问题,商业化和技术。

文化调节

除画面感外,最能让游戏玩家投入游戏的是UI界面,当然,它必须是玩家自己的语言。好的翻译就是在讲游戏里的故事,风趣生动,用语符合玩家口味,并根据游戏不同时期的背景译出符合其时代特点的语言风格,达到浸入式的游戏体验。同时,游戏的语音对话应提供字幕或配音。在许多情况下,人物形象和情节改编是必要的,对当地的文化更具吸引力。如果游戏故事中涉及历史事件,一定要检查涉及的游戏内容是否属实。在游戏测试阶段,让当地玩家来验证符号和宗教元素在当地的正确使用往往是非常重要的。

(台湾游戏展showgirl)

 

(ChinaJoy showgirl)

对大多数游戏开发者来说,很难辨清哪些是文化观念的差异。就拿颜色来说,当中国人见红色,一般象征吉祥,给人幸福和欢乐的感觉。可在大多数西方文化中却似乎完全相反 – 让人联想到暴力和鲜血。但是,不要以为“红色就意味着吉祥”适用于所有情况。比如说在餐厅结帐时递过来一只红笔来签字,就让中国人很恼火(这是我在美国经常遇见的情况…) 这一忌讳是从死刑问斩的历史演故而来的:犯人名字是用红笔写在押号上,以候处决。所以用红笔写自己的名字是相当不吉利的一件事!

小浣熊在中国是多么可爱的一个形象,还是一个干脆面的品牌代言。但在美国确像老鼠一样人人喊打。东西方龙的形象又是一个例子。调整文化概念和理解上的不同,还有很多值得考究的地方:某些数字的象征含义,日期和时间的表达法,不同历律的节假日等。想要保证所有细节都没错,最好办法是咨询有经验的游戏国际化和本地化专家。他们可以帮助你避开忌讳的风俗和习惯,并给游戏添彩,让你的游戏在全球大卖。

如今,游戏的营销少不了社交媒体的帮忙。尽管Facebook, Youtube和Twitter风靡全世界,但在中国大陆却并非流行。中国国内有一套自己完整的社交生态圈(见下图),基本每个工具都和国外的功能相对应。在LAI公司,我们经常帮助客户寻找正确的营销和发行渠道,尤其在大中华地区和美洲,我们有很多游戏平台和社区的合作伙伴。

营销时机在各地也有所不同。台湾游戏同行很关注台风季,这时玩家都宅在家,有更多时间来玩游戏。中国新年前,也是最忙的时节。在美国,圣诞节是玩家得到最多游戏礼物的时间。

法律问题

相比文化意识,政府法规对游戏的发行要求更苛刻。我们在前面的文化部分谈到了红色。在德国,游戏中红色的鲜血被规定替换成绿色或蓝色。很多其他国家也有自己的游戏评级标准 (如澳大利亚常被认为有很严格的评审),为适合的特定年龄群体进行游戏分类。

虽然中国没有年龄评级系统,但政府的审查却并不松代。一个月前,战地4遭中国封杀,因为政府认为它对国家安全构成威胁。据中国电子游戏信息门户网站17173.com报道,超过40家外国游戏都没有被允许在中国销售 。

 

中国游戏产业网上有游戏在中国发行的相关政策。有几点值得开发商注意的是:

1. 内容限制 – 被禁止的:淫秽,色情,赌博,暴力,迷信,民族歧视,危害国家安全,等等。

2. 所有的进口网络游戏(包括台湾/香港/澳门)需要找一个中国本土游戏公司发布:要么合作出版或自行发布。

3. 保护未成年防止沉迷网络游戏,并对18岁以下的玩家游戏销售有更严厉的规定,如实名登录等。

主机游戏现有的商业模式不适合中国市场。目前存在的主机市场,游戏往往要花费2000-3000万美元制作,单价售出60美金 。较便宜和老款游戏虽然只有其1/3的价格,但一下子让中国玩家拿出120元还是很高的。泛滥的盗版问题和中国玩家的支付模式偏好,启迪了中国游戏商家大多采用free-to-play模式。 而主机游戏玩家也大部分在水货市场购买了游戏机,习惯了买盗版游戏光盘。很难想象中国游戏消费者会支付同样价格购买正版主机游戏。

(国内的盗版机)

值得注意的是,主机游戏行业里已经开始有不同的计价模式,并越来越受欢迎。所有的当代游戏机都有网上在线市场,可以下载购买经典游戏、小游戏、低价游戏。大预算的主机游戏也开始流行可下载内容的销售,尽管它和目前中国游戏市场运作有所不同。(虽然free-to-play模式已在美国休闲和手机游戏玩家中取得一定的成功,但铁杆玩家不喜欢游戏内存在用支付手段取得竞争优势。 )重要的是,市场已经开始向新的方向移动,结构都已到位,可以为新兴的游戏机市场制定独特的定价模式。

对中国市场来讲,游戏和可下载内容的数字销售前景客观。在线系统越来越多地应用于防止盗版。中研普华的研究显示,2012年,在主机游戏解禁前,水货市场销售了约4百万台主机(包括掌机)。然而,这些游戏机无法和其他游戏机联机,一同在线玩游戏。建立主机游戏的官方网络能阻止用水货和盗版的玩家进行游戏,不让他们进入游戏网络。游戏机的数字销售也消除了物流成本,避免了中间商和游戏转售。

 

科技

主机游戏解禁几天后,华为在拉斯维加斯的消费电子展上推出了其首款安卓系统游戏机Tron。TCL也发布了制造其自己的游戏主机计划。国内公司开始在主机游戏市场初露端倪,但微软、任天堂和索尼电脑娱乐公司被许多人认为是游戏机解禁中最能受益的赢家。主机游戏需要巨大的投资和长时间的制作,而没有成熟的技术和行业知识的公司很容易就会失败。

一旦AAA游戏广泛进入中国市场,游戏市场格局将转向对视听效果更高科技的要求,游戏玩法也会要求更复杂多样。10年前,3D游戏在世界各地开始盛行,而如今2D/2.5D游戏开发在中国还是最常见(Cocos2D pk Unity 3D)。在不同的平台发布游戏时,技术兼容性的困难时经常发生。国内企业通常只有有限的主机游戏设计和发行资源。

国内公司对游戏玩家喜好(题材风格、情景设计、流行趋势)和游戏度量(metrics)有更好的把握。对进口游戏的改编也有更多经验。在2013年9月,微软第一个与中国公司百视通组建合资企业。主机游戏市场的未来给这样取长补短的中外合资公司提供优势,使双方从合作关系的协同效应中获利。而给不希望形成这种深度合作伙伴公司的公司提供了另一种解决方案,是与经验丰富的本地化和出版机构合作。

中国游戏机市场的开放给游戏开发者和主机制造商带来了很多的挑战,但同样带来了巨大商机。最先进入中国市场获得绝对竞争优势的公司将是那些最先找到针对中国玩家的成功营销方案、并能在中国市场立足的公司。

在LAI,自1993年以来,我们一直与索尼及国际上许多其他成功的电子游戏公司合作 。我们拥有齐全的游戏本地化和海外出版解决方案。用我们的经验助你走过所有发行步骤, 让你的产品推向市场。

 

Perspectives on Game Localization for the Emerging Chinese Console Game Market

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Perspectives on Game Localization for the Emerging Chinese Console Game Market

By Michelle Zhao, LAI’s Managing Director for Greater China and Rory Schussler, Special Correspondent

Earlier this January, China lifted a 13 year ban on the sale and manufacture of gaming consoles. This has generated great excitement about the future of the video game industry in China, but it is still too early to know how successful the big console players will be in taking advantage of this opportunity. (Nintendo has said they have no plans so far for entering the Chinese market; Sony is making ambitious plans to sell 5 million PS4s by March, 2014.)

We’re still waiting on more details from the government on how the change in regulation is going to work. Restrictions on content are an issue for game designers. Piracy and the grey market are major concerns. The biggest challenge is how to adapt to the differences of the Chinese market.

Let’s go back in time 13 years. Nintendo’s Mario was almost as much of an iconic presence to Chinese children as he was to Americans. While China was closing its doors to consoles, in the rest of the world gaming was entering what is known as the sixth generation of consoles, where the major competitors were the Sony Playstation 2, the Microsoft Xbox, and the Nintendo Gamecube. From the beginning of the video game industry, games were targeted towards an audience that was mostly male and aged child to young adult. The target audience (a group which is now referred to as “hardcore gamers”) demanded more complicated and challenging games with better graphics. Despite having the longest history in the industry and a line of well-known franchises, Nintendo was falling behind its competitors. When the industry continued with the same design philosophy working on a new generation of consoles in 2005, Nintendo went with a different strategy. With the Nintendo Wii, the company went against the conventional wisdom and discovered an entire new market that had been ignored before. In contrast to the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3, Nintendo released a less powerful console with a radically different motion control system. The simple and intuitive games were a hit with families and older generations. By saving money on cheaper hardware, Nintendo’s sales outdid its competition so well that Sony and Microsoft both came out with their own motion control systems a few years afterward.

What’s going on now is a similar situation. A market of over 1.4 billion people has opened up. According to IDC analysts, in the next few years, China is going to be the largest console game market once the ban is lifted completely. The big question is what kind of innovation or strategy can be used to capture the formerly ignored population. Quality localization is necessary to win Chinese gamers. There are a few aspects of localization to consider: culturalization, legal issues, monetization, and technology.

Culturalization

Besides artwork, the first thing to get gamers connected and immersed in your game is the UI that is written in their own language. When talking about the language “Chinese”, many people get confused by a few terms: Cantonese, Mandarin, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese. Cantonese and Mandarin usually refer to dialects.

There are actually many different dialects in China. Cantonese is spoken by people from the Canton area which is in the very south of China (many early immigrants in the US are from Canton.) Mandarin is the national/official language, originating from Beijing and the Northeast of China. People from Taiwan and Singapore also speak Mandarin.

Simplified and traditional are usually referring to writing systems. Simplified is used in Mainland China and Singapore, while traditional is used in Hongkong and Taiwan. Many people who understand traditional may not read simplified very well, and vice versa. The good news is that since the language is concise, most of the time you don’t have to worry about the maximum length of the characters for UI design.

A good translation offers vivid story-telling and period-accurate language, which is essential to a great gameplay experience. Providing subtitles or voice-overs in the targeted market are necessary for dialogue. In many circumstances, character and plot adaptation are preferred in order to appeal to the local culture. It is always necessary to fact check, if historic events are included in the game. Asking local gamers to verify the correct use of symbols and religious elements is often important during the testing phase.

 (showgirl @ Taipei Game Show)

(Showgirls @ ChinaJoy – China’s largest video game exhibition)

Differences on cultural notions are not always obvious for game developers. Take colors for example – when Chinese people see red, generally they relate it to auspicious, happy and festive feelings. Its usage seems quite opposite in most western cultures – it is associated with violence and blood. However, don’t assume that “Red is good luck” in all situations. A Chinese person could feel quite offended if offered a red pen to sign the bill in a restaurant – in historic times, only prisoners who were sentenced to death had their names written in red ink. Many Chinese people still believe it will bring them bad luck.

Raccoons are cute and used as a mascot in branding in China, but are considered pests in America. Dragons are another well-known example. There are plenty of other things to be aware of in culturalization: superstition surrounding numbers, display of dates, and Chinese holidays under the lunar calendar, etc. The best way to make sure you’ll get it right is to consult with an experienced internationalization/localization professional working in the game industry. They will be able to make sure all the taboos are untouched and give you better alternatives to boost your game sales in China.

Social media are very helpful and trendy tools to support game marketing, but Facebook, Youtube and Twitter are not available in Mainland China, even though they may be used widely throughout the rest of the world. China has a totally separate social media ecosystem, but it can be confusing at times (see the following chart showing the correspondence with other platforms). At LAI, we are experts at navigating China’s social media ecosystem and frequently help our clients with marketing initiatives in China.

Marketing opportunities can vary in each area. In Taiwan, the game industry takes advantage of typhoon seasons since everyone stays at home and plays games. In mainland China, the busiest period is before Chinese New Year.

Legal Issues

Compared to cultural awareness, government regulations are even harsher. We talked about the color red in the cultural section earlier. In Germany, gore is replaced by green or blue in games. Many other countries also have their ratings boards to classify games as appropriate for certain age groups.

Though China does not have a system for age rating, its censorship is also very strict. A month ago, Battlefield 4 was banned in China because the government viewed it as a threat to national security. According to Chinese video game information portal 17173.com, more than 40 foreign games have not been allowed to be sold in China over the years.

This Chinese game industry official website provides video game publishing rules and regulations in China.

A few things for developers to note:

  1. Content restriction- these are forbidden: obscenity, pornography, gambling, violence, superstition, illegal trade enrichment and endangering national security, etc.
  2. All imported online games (including from Taiwan/Hongkong/Macau) need to find a Chinese local game company to publish: either co-publish or self-publish.
  3. There are strict rules on selling games to gamers under 18. Often, real name log-ins are required to play certain types of games.

Monetization

The current business model for console games doesn’t fit China very well. In the existing console market, a game tends to cost around $20-$30 million to make, and sells to consumers at $60. Even cheaper and older games only drop to about a third of that, and 120 RMB is still very high for a Chinese gamer. The majority of Chinese gaming works on the free-to-play model due to the high degree of piracy. Most gamers who are interested in consoles have already purchased illegally imported systems, and are accustomed to playing bootlegged games. Consumers would refuse to pay the same prices that people do elsewhere in the world.

(copycat consoles)

Different pricing models have already taken root though, and are becoming more popular. All of the current-generation consoles have online marketplaces where classic games or smaller and less expensive games can be purchased and downloaded digitally. The sale of downloadable content is becoming increasingly prevalent in big-budget console titles, although it is different from how the present Chinese market works. (While the free-to-play model has had some success with American casual and mobile gamers, hardcore gamers tend to reject any game where players can pay for a competitive advantage.) What is important is that the market has started to move in new directions, and structures are already in place to accommodate a unique pricing model for the emerging console market.

Digital sales of games and content is promising for the Chinese market. Online systems are increasingly used to prevent piracy. (Shenzhen) Zero Power Intelligence’s research shows about 4 million consoles (including handheld) were bought in China from the grey market before the ban lifted in 2012. However, such consoles are unable to play anything other than local multiplayer, and cannot connect to other players. Establishing an official network for a console can prevent anyone from playing on an illegally modified console or game disk, and ban them from the network. Digital sales on consoles also avoids the physical costs of shipping to retail stores, eliminates the middleman, and prevents resale of games.

Technology

Huawei unveiled its first Android powered game console Tron at CES in LV, only a few days after the government’s policy change. TCL also has plans on manufacturing its own console.

(Huawei’s Tron)

Domestic companies are making their debut in the console field, though Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony Computer Entertainment are considered by many as the best poised to benefit from the lifting of the ban on consoles. Console games require huge investments and long production times; companies without mature technology and industry know-how will easily fail.

Once AAA games become widely available, the landscape of the market will shift and the demand for high-tech visuals, sound and gameplay will increase. Ten years ago, 3D gaming became prevalent in the rest of the world, while 2D/2.5D is still the most common technology used among Chinese game developers (Cocos2D instead of Unity3D). Technology compatibility difficulties often occur when publishing on different platforms. Domestic companies usually have limited resources and talents in experienced console game design and publishing.

Domestic companies have advantages on user preference (stylistic, plot and trend) and game metrics. They also have more experience in modifying gameplay of an imported game. Microsoft took the first step to form a joint venture with Chinese company BesTV in Sep. 2013. The future of the market should give an advantage to similar partnerships between established foreign companies and domestic designers, allowing both to profit from the synergy of the relationship. An alternative solution for companies that do not want to undertake such an extensive partnership is to work with experienced localization and publishing agencies.

Conclusion

The opening of the Chinese market to consoles brings plenty of challenges to ambitious game designers and console manufacturers, but the potential for rewards is commensurate. The first companies that work out a successful formula for marketing to Chinese gamers and establish themselves will gain a solid competitive advantage by getting in on the ground floor.

At LAI, we have worked closely with Sony and many other successful video game companies worldwide since 1993. With a complete range of game localization and overseas publishing solutions, we can help you get the experience you need to work through the necessary steps of publication and get your product to market.

 

LocaLAIse This! – Interview with Executive Director of the IGDA, Kate Edwards

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

LocaLAIse This! (pronounced “Localize This”) features an interview with Kate Edwards, Executive Director of the IGDA. Kate has worked extensively as a geopolitical strategist and localization expert at leading companies such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. She has worked on numerous AAA titles, including the Dragon Age series, Modern Warfare 3, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Mass Effect 3, and Halo 4.

 

In this episode, Kate discusses emerging markets, proper culturalization of games, and her work consulting on AAA titles. You can check it out at this link, or download it for free from the iTunes Store. 

 

Translation Conferences January-June 2014

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

It’s a job and a half finding all of the industry conferences and events happening around the world, so we made life easier for you by providing a comprehensive list of relevant translation conferences and locations/dates.  Also check out our earlier post with video game conferences and which ones we will be attending.

If there are any conferences we missed, please let us know @LanguageAutoInc.  We greatly appreciate and encourage feedback!

Sign up for our newsletter to receive monthly conference updates.  Enjoy!

 

January 9-10, 2014 Colloquium “Performativity and Translation” at the Hong Kong Baptist University and City University of Hong Kong in Hong Kong

January 9-12, 2014 The American Name Society (ANS) in Minneapolis, Minnesota

January 9-12, 2014 129th MLA Annual Convention at the Chicago Marriott and the Sheraton Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

January 21-23, 2014 USAN 2014 at Stellenbosch University, South Africa

January 23-25, 2014 10th International Congress on English Grammar (ICEG)

January 30-31, 2014 Translation in Transition: Between Cognition, Computing, and Technology at the Copenhagen Business School in Frederiksberg, Denmark

January 30-31, 2014 The 6th Riga Symposium on Pragmatic Aspects of Translation “Translation, Quality, Costs” at the University of Latvia in Latvia

January 31, 2014 2nd Durham Postgraduate Colloquium at Durham University in Durham, UK

February 6-8, 2014 30th South Asian Language Analysis Roundtable at the University of Hyderabad in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

February 10-11, 2014 Rhizomes VIII: Surviving and Thriving in Multilingual Spaces at the University of Queensland

February 13-14, 2014 XXXIV International VAKKI Symposium in Vaasa, Finland

February 24-26, 2014 Localization World in Bangkok

February 27, 2014 Subtitling and Intercultural Communication, European Languages and Beyond at Università per Stranieri di Siena

February 28-March 1, 2014 L’Humour, le ludique, le rire: Approches interdisciplinaires at l’Université de Victoria in Victoria, BC, Canada

March 5-6, 2014 The Fourth International Conference on Religious Texts and Translation in Marrakech

March 5-7, 2014 DUT International Language Symposium: Developing Africa through a Harvest and Reinvestment of Multilingualism at the Durban University of Technology

March 6-8, 2014 The Ethical and the Violent International Interdisciplinary Conference at the University of Sousse

March 7-9, 2014 Second Asia Pacific Corpus Linguistics Conference at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hunghom, Kowloon, Hong Kong

March 13-14, 2014 International Conference on Translation and Accessibility in Video Games and Virtual Worlds at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain

March 13-15, 2014 Conference on Baltic and Scandinavian Studies at Yale University in New Haven, CT

March 20-22, 2014 Identity and Conflict in the Middle East and Its Diasporic Cultures at the University of Balamand in Lebanon

March 20-22, 2014 Groupe d’étude et de recherche en anglais de spécialité (GERAS) at l’Université d’Aix-Marseille in Aix-en Provence, France

March 21, 2014 5th Biennial Graduate Student Conference, Packaging Meaning: Culture and Concepts in Words and Grammar at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas

March 21-22, 2014 Translating the Voices of Theory: Intercultural Passages, Resistances, and Audibility in Paris, France

March 24, 2014 From Ethics to Censorship: Constraints in Translation and in Translation Studies at Concordia University in Quebec, Canada

March 24-26, 2014 Eighth Students’ Conference of Linguistics in India at Kashmir University in Srinagar, India

March 26-27, 2014 I Coloquio Hermeneus: Los Estudios de Traducción e Interpretación Basados en Corpus in Soria, Spain

March 27-28, 2014 Interdisciplinary Approaches to Translation (InATra) in Bydogoszcz, Poland

March 27-29, 2014 Language in Focus: Exploring the Challenges and Opportunities in Linguistics and English Language Teaching in Antalya, Turkey

March 28-29, 2014 The Translation and Localization Conference in Warsaw, Poland

April 3-4, 2014 (RE)Visiting Ethics and Ideology in Situations of Conflict in Madrid, Spain

April 3-5, 2014 New Tasks for Legal Interpreters and Translators in the Enlarged Europe in Krakow, Poland

April 3-5, 2014 32nd International Conference of the Spanish Association of Applied Linguistics (AESLA) at the University Pablo de Olavide in Seville, Spain

April 3-5, 2014 The American Translation and Interpreting Studies Association (ATISA) VII: Where Theory and Practice Meet at New York University in New York City, New York

April 4, 2014 General and Specialist Translation/Interpretation: Theory, Methods, Practice in Kyiv, Ukraine

April 7-8, 2014 Empirical Methods in Linguistics (EMLS) at the University of Lodz in Poland

April 10-11, 2014 TAUS Executive Forum in Tokyo, Japan

April 11-12, 2014 Words and Music II in Portoroz, Slovenia

April 11-12, 2014 XII Symposium on Translation and Interpreting the Myths of Translation and Interpreting at the University of Tampere in Tampere, Finland

April 14-16, 2014 Global Translation Flows, 5th Annual Translation Conference in Doha, Qatar

April 14-17, 2014 Certificate in Collaborative Translation Training in Auckland, New Zealand

April 16-18, 2014 8th International IDEA Conferences: Studies in English at Sitki Kocman Mugla University in Mugla, Turkey

April 17-19, 2014 The 2nd International Symposium on Languages for Specific Purposes at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, Alabama

April 25-26, 2014 War and Peace in the Life of Language at the University of Nottingham in Nottingham

April 26, 2014 Human in the Loop: Workshop on Humans and Computer-Assisted Translation (HaCat) in Gothenburg, Sweden

April 26-30, 2014 The 14th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (EACL) in Gothenburg, Sweden

April 29-30, 2014 Key Cultural Texts in Translation in Leicester, UK

April 30-May 4, 2014 35th ICAME Conference at the University of Nottingham in Nottingham

May 1-4, 2014 AICW Biennial Conference, Writing and Translating Culture: Bridging Differences Together in Montreal, Canada

May 2-3, 2014 Budapest 2014 in Budapest, Hungary

May 7-9, 2014 TISLID ’14: 2nd International Workshop on Technological Innovation for Specialized Linguistic Domains – Lifelong Learning on the Move at the University of Salamanca in Avila, Spain

May 8-9, 2014 ASLA Symposium: Language and Identity/Språk och identitet in Stockholm, Sweden

May 8-10, 2014 Political Linguistics III: (Re)construing nationhood in ‘(un)doing Europe’ today? in Warsaw, Poland

May 15-17, 2014 3rd International Conference: Language and Law in Social Practice in Italy

May 20-21, 2014 Mediating Translation in Europe from the Early Modern Period to the 20th Century: Translation Studies and Transnational Literary Histiography at Ghent University in Ghent, Belgium

May 22-23, 2014 Traduire le sacré dans les langues et littératures de l’Orient at Université d’Artois in France

May 22-24, 2014 6th International Conference on Corpus Linguistics at the Universidad de las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Spain

May 22-24, 2014 The 1st International Conference on Food and Culture in Translation at the University of Bologna in Italy

May 23, 2014 TAUS Translation Automation Roundtable in Moscow, Russia

May 26-28, 2014 27th Conference of the Canadian Association for Translation Studies (CATS) at Brock University in Ontario, Canada

May 29-30, 2014 The International Conference: Representing, (De)Constructing and Translating Borderlands in Krasnogruda, Poland

May 29-31, 2014 International Conference on Economic, Business, Financial, and Institutional Translation at the University of Alicante in Alicante, Spain

May 29-31, 2014 2nd International Conference on Non-Professional Interpreting and Translation at Mainz University in Germersheim, Germany

May 26-June 6, 2014 Nida School of Translation Studies (NSTS)

May 29-June 1, 2014 20th Anniversary of IQLA and Journal of Quantitative Linguistics (JQL) in the Czech Republic

June 2-7, 2014 Translation in Russian Contexts: Transcultural, Translingual, and Transdisciplinary Points of Departure at Uppsala University in Uppsala, Sweden

June 3-5, 2014 International NooJ 2014 Conference at the University of Sassari in Italy

June 4-6, 2014 Localization World in Dublin, Ireland

June 4-6, 2014 On the Border of Language and Dialect at the University of Eastern Finland in Joensuu, Finland

June 5-6, 2014 1st International Conference on Translation Studies – Translating Asia: Now and Then in Bangkok, Thailand

June 5-7, 2014 Second IATIS Regional Workshop: Collaborative Translation – From Antiquity to the Internet in Paris, France

June 12-14, 2014 9th International Conference on Third Language Acquisition and Multilingualism at Uppsala University in Uppsala, Sweden

June 13-15, 2014 3rd International Conference on Itineraries in Translation History at the University of Tartu in Estonia

June 15-18, 2014 Sociolinguistics Symposium 20 in Jyväskylä, Finland

June 17-19, 2014 XXVI FILLM International Congress: Languages and Literatures Today in Ningbo, China

June 18-19, 2014 Innovation in Language Learning: Multimodal Approaches at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in Spain

June 18-20, 2014 Languages and the First World War in London, UK

June 19-20, 2014 East Asian Translation Studies Conference in Norwich, UK

Video Game Conferences January-October 2014

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Check out our new podcast on iTunes – LocaLAIse This!

______________________________________________________________________________

It’s a job and a half finding all of the industry conferences and events happening around the world, so we made life easier for you by providing a comprehensive list of video game conferences and locations/dates.  We even included relevant Twitter pages so you can stay up to date on the latest conference news and updates.  You can find the conferences LAI will be attending by looking for the events highlighted in purple.

This list may not be complete and may not reflect the most recent information available.  Please check the relevant webpages to learn more about these conferences.

If there are any conferences we missed, please let us know @LanguageAutoInc.  We greatly appreciate and encourage feedback!  We also have a Twitter list of 70+ video game conferences.  Subscribe now to easily stay on top of conference updates.

Sign up for our newsletter to receive monthly conference updates.  Enjoy!

 

January 7-10, 2014 International CES in Las Vegas, Nevada @IntlCES

The International CES is the world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies, serving as the event for innovators and breakthrough technologies for more than 40 years. Registration opens October 1st. On-site registration fee begins January 2nd at $200.

January 22-23, 2014 Mobile Games Forum and Social Games & Virtual Goods Forum at Novotel in London @GamesForum @VirtualGoodsUK @VGSummit

The definitive global event where over 400 of the industry’s most influential stakeholders, 120 speakers (including 29 of the top 50 developers in the world, 30 sponsors and key media converge to set the agenda on the hottest issues in mobile entertainment. Attendees are able to plan meetings ahead of time through access to a meeting planner. Early bird business pass available until December 20th at £1999, conference pass at £999, thereafter £2999 for a business pass and £1299 for a conference pass. Developer pass available for 25 studios at £499.

January 23-27, 2014 Taipei Game Show in Taipei, Taiwan

Last year’s Taipei Game Show was the largest gaming event in Taiwan, with over 300,000 visitors and 400 booths. Check website for pricing information.

February 4-6, 2014 DICE Summit at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV @DICESummit

DICE Summit 2014 is an exclusive high-level conference, gathering the brightest and most creative minds dedicated to exploring approaches to the creative process and artistic expression. Past speakers have included Shigeru Miyamoyo, creator of Mario and The Legend of Zelda and Gabe Newell, co-founder and managing director of Valve. Active business member early bird fee available through November 8th at $2050, general fee through December 20th at $2300, and late fee through January 24th at $2575. Non-member early bird fee available through November 8th at $2775, general fee through December 20th at $3050, and late fee through January 24th at $3400.

February 7-8, 2014 Winter Nights Mobile Games Conference in St. Petersburg, Russia

The Winter Nights: Mobile Games Conference is an international mobile game development and marketing conference, with over 800 decision-markers, developers, publishers, and other professionals from over 300 companies. Early bird registration ends January 17th, with standard passes available for $250, premium passes for $350, and premium+ passes for $400.

February 11-13, 2014 Casual Connect Europe at Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Casual Connect is the premiere event for the casual games industry with over 6500 professionals attending Casual Connect each year. Early bird registration of €350 ($450) until January 18th, standard registration of €350 ($450). Premium pass available at an early bird rate until January 18th at €500 ($650), thereafter €575 ($750).

February 14-16, 2014 IndieCade East in New York City, NY @IndieCade

The IndieCade Festival is the only stand-alone independent-focused game event in the nation and includes festival workshops, keynotes, family-focused activities, meet-and-greets, and hands-on gameplay. All access available on site at $450, festival plus at $300.

February 17-19, 2014 Digital Kids Conference in New York City, NY @DigitalKidsCon

The 8th annual conference is a “must-attend event” for professionals engaging with children online and on digital devices. All access super early pass available through November 15th at $595, early rate through January 17th at $695, online rate through February 7th at $795, and on site at $995.

February 21, 2014 Play4Agile in Johannesberg, Germany @Play4Agile

Play4Agile provides an open playground to inspire each other and to learn how using serious games can help us achieve our goals. Sold out.

February 27, 2014 Hamburg Games Conference at Bucerius Law School in Hamburg, Germany

This conference informs attendees of how to protect themselves against hackers and cyber threats. Check website for pricing information.

March 1-3, 2014 Guangzhou Game Show at China Import and Export Fair Pazhou Compex in China  LAI will be attending!

This conference brings together worldwide professionals across the digital interactive game industry. Check website for registration and fee information.

March 10-12, 2014 GAMEON-Asia in Singapore

GAME-ON brings together researchers and games industry professionals from Asia and abroad in order to exchange ideas on techniques and research findings. Check website for registration and fee information.

March 17-19, 2014 Game Connection America at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco, CA @The_GameCo

Buckle up for another year of record-breaking attendance, and join more than 1800 attendees, 200 exhibitors and 250 certified buyers to engage in networking, business, and lively conversation. Check website for registration and fee information.

March 17-21, 2014 Game Developers Conference (GDC) at Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA @Official_GDC @IGFNews

Be a part of the world’s largest and longest-running professionals-only game industry event, with over 22,500 attendees, the Localization Summit, the Independent Games Festival, and the Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit. Early bird all access pass available until January 31st at $1475, main conference pass at $995, summits/tutorials/bootcamps pass at $695, expo pass at $195. Early bird regular pass available until March 12th at $1975, main conference pass at $1350, summits/tutorials/bootcamps pass at $795, expo pass $250. Early bird onsite pass available at $2100, main conference pass $1475, summits/tutorials/bootcamps pass at $895, expo pass at $250. LAI will be attending!

April 3-7, 2014 Foundations of Digital Games (FDG) in Ft. Lauderdale, FL

FDC 2014 is a focal point for academic efforts in all areas of research and education involving games, game technologies, gameplay, and game design. Registration is now closed.

April 7-8, 2014 Cloud Gaming Europe in London, UK

Cloud Gaming Europe is Europe’s largest video game network and cloud gaming event, bringing together senior level decision makers from publishers, developers, network architecture companies, and investors. The super early bird business pass is available until January 17th at £995 (£1395 thereafter), and the super early bird basic pass is available for £695 (£995 after January 17th).

April 11-13, 2014 PAX East at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC) in Boston, MA  @Official_PAX

PAX East doubled in size each year since its start in 2004 until venue capacities were reached, and when PAX expanded from Washington to Boston in 2010, tens of thousands attended. With tournaments, concerts, a handheld lounge, and widely attended speaker sessions, there’s something for everyone at PAX. Individual day passes available at $40, three day passes available at $75.

April 14-15. 2014 VentureBeat Mobile Summit 2014 in Sausalito, CA @VentureBeat

The mobile industry’s top 180 influencers meet at the VentureBeat Mobile Summit to discuss how to accelerate adoption, engagement, and monetization. Check website for registration and fee details.

April 22-24 & 26 Games for Change in New York City @G4C

Games for Change is the largest gaming event in New York City and the leading international event uniting games for change creators with those who believe in the positive power of digital games. General admission available at $550, nonprofit/government admission available at $450, student admission available at $150.

April 23, 2014 Game Marketing Summit (GMS) in San Francisco @GameMarketers

The Game Marketing Summit (GMS) is the must-attend annual event for marketing professionals in the interactive game business. Check website for registration and fee details.

April 23-24, 2014 Festival of Games in Amsterdam, Holland @NLGD

The Festival of Games unites game development professionals, hosting a pitch and match session to connect organizations. Check website for registration and fee details.

April 23-24, 2014 Feria andina de juegos de azar/Andern Gaming Trade Show (FADJA) in Columbia @FADJA_COLOMBIA

FADJA connects game industry professionals in Columbia and abroad. Check website for registration details.

April 23-24, 2014 East Coast Game Conference 2014 (ECGC) at the Raleigh Convention Center in Raleigh, NC

ECGC 2014 is in its 6th year and remains the largest gathering of video game professionals on the East Coast. Early bird conference passes are available until December 31st at $125, and early bird premier passes are available until December 31st at $270. LAI will be attending!

April 23-25, 2014 EvoGames in Granada, Spain

 This event focuses on new computational intelligence or biologically inspired techniques that may be of practical value for improvement of existing games or creation of new games, as well as an innovative uses of games to improve or test computational intelligence algorithms. Regular pass available until March 31st at 410 GBP, 535 GBP thereafter. Student pass available until March 31st at 205 GBP, 300 GBP thereafter.

April 24, 2014 F2P Summit in London @F2PSummit

The F2P Summit features a top notch line-up of speakers with vast experience in designing free-to-play games, analytics gurus, monetisation experts, and player behaviour specialists.

April 26-27, 2014 Reboot Develop 2014 in Zagreb, Croatia

Reboot connects game industry professionals across the Adriatic region through an event organized by Reboot Magazine. Attendance fee available for 85.00€.

May 5-6, 2014 Mobile Gaming USA in San Francisco @MobileGamingUSA

The video game industry’s biggest players including Kabam, SGN, Supercell, King, Glu, Unity, Perfect World and many more will come together to tackle the industry’s burning questions and provide your business with the perfect platform for mobile gaming success. Basic pass is available at $1195 until April 25th, $1295 thereafter. Business pass is available at $1495 until April 25th, $1595 thereafter. Diamond pass is available at $2995 until April 25th, $3095 thereafter. LAI will be attending!

May 7-8, 2014 NeuroGaming Conference and Expo 2014 at the Metreon in San Francisco, CA @NeuroGameConf

The NeuroGaming conference is where mind and body meet gameplay, featuring neurogame developers’ work on the latest emotional, cognitive, sensory, and behavioral technologies to create radically compelling experiences to engage and entertain gamers worldwide. Early bird full conference passes are available until January 15th at $650 (indie developer price $250), regular full conference passes are available until April 7th at $850 (indie developer price $350), and late full conference passes are available at $1150 (indie developer at $550).

May 7-8, 2014 GameHorizon at The Sage in Newcastle, UK @GameHorizon

GameHorizon aims to be Europe’s most relevant forward-looking games industry event, with a combination of inspirational sessions, debate, and networking. Tickets are available for £180 or £270.

May 14-15, 2014 Game Monetisation Europe 2014 in London

Europe’s only summit dedicated to monetization. Check website for registration and fee details.

May 15-16, 2014 DevGAMM! in Moscow, Russia @DevGamm

Mobile, online, and indie game conference for developers and publishers. Indie registration at $95, and business registration at $150.

May 16-18, 2014 INTERGAME 2014 at the Estonian Fairs in Tallinn, Estonia

A wide spectrum of gaming professionals is anticipated from across Europe. Check website for registration and fee details.

May 20-22, 2014 Casual Connect Asia in Singapore @CasualConnect

The Casual Games Association connects professionals at conferences around the world and provides educational resources and community support for those involved in creating games for the mass market consumer. Standard registration available at an early bird price of $300 until April 26th, $350 thereafter. Premium registration available at an early bird price of $450 until April 26th, $650 thereafter.

May 21-23, 2014 Nordic Game Conference in Malmö, Sweden @NordicGame

The Nordic Game Conference engages global speakers and has a pitch and match sessions to connect businesses – a combination of a targeted audience, online meeting system, and personal matchmaker. Check back for registration information.

May 25-27, 2014 Ottawa International Game Conference (OIGC) @OIGConf

Founded and managed directly by Ottawa’s fast-growing gaming industry, the events focus on building business relationships, sharing best practices and continuing to establish the city as an emerging development centre with international and local speakers, a showcase of games and technologies, and an opportunity for new talent to connect with studios. Space is limited – reserve your tickets ASAP! Early bird conference pass available at $300 Canadian dollars plus a small fee. Regular conference pass available at $400 Canadian dollars plus a small fee. Indie dev pass available at $250 Canadian dollars plus a small fee. Early bird student pass available at $175 Canadian dollars plus a small fee. Regular student pass available at $210 Canadian dollars plus a small fee. Other passes available on the OIGC website.

May 27-30, 2014 The Android Developer Conference (AnDevCon) at the Sheraton in Boston, MA  @AnDevCon

 AnDevCon is the world’s largest Android Developer Training Conference, serving as a technical conference for software developers building Android apps. The full conference plus pre-conference tutorials pass is available through January 17th at $1195, February 14th at $1295, March 21st at $1345, April 18th at $1395, May 16th at $1495, and $1795 thereafter. Full conference passes are available through January 17th at $945, February 14th at $995, March 21st at $1095, April 18th at $1195, May 16th at $1295, and $1595 thereafter.

May 28-29, 2014? Game Connection Asia in Shanghai, China

Game Connection Asia features back-to-back meetings, a streamlined meeting application, and classes. Check back for registration details.

May 2014 Flash GAMM in Moscow, Russia

The conference gathers representatives of leading social and flash game companies, small studios, and independent developers. Check back for exact dates and registration details.

May 2014? GameConnection Asia

May 2014? Kontagent Konnect @Kontagent

May 2014? Russian Game Developer’s Conference (KRI)

June 2-7, 2014 Computex Taipei in Taipei, Taiwan @computex_taipei

Computex Taipei is the largest computer exhibition in Asia and the second largest in the world. Check the conference website for pricing information.

June 5, 2014 Web Game Conference in Paris, France @WebGameConf

The Web Game Conference is the conference for leaders and innovators of the web, social and mobile game industry, organized by the SNJV, France’s Videogame trade Association. Early bird registration available for €75.00 until May 1st.

June 10-12, 2014 E3 Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, CA @E3Expo

E3 is the world’s premier tradeshow for computer games, video games, and related products, drawing tens of thousands of professionals to experience the future of interactive entertainment. Expo pass available for $795 through April 27th, $995 thereafter.

June 10-13, 2014 The Gamification Summit @GSummit2014

Over 4 days, hear from 50+ expert speakers and engage in workshops covering gamification, customer loyalty, employee engagement, and behavior science. Even earn a Certification in Gamification Design in GSummit’s limited space workshop on June 10th! Early bird conference only pass available until January 24th at $595. Early bird conference pass with Advanced Gamification Certification Workshop available until January 24th at $1795. (Special prices available for alumni.) 

June 12-13, 2014 Social Casino Gaming Summit at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, NV

 Discover what strategies the major offline operators are pursuing and insight into the mobile development strategies from the top 10 in the social casino space. Basic pass available at $1,095 until April 25th, $1,295 thereafter. Business pass available at $1,395 until April 25th, $1,595 thereafter. Diamond pass available at $2,895 until April 25th, $3,095 thereafter.

June 16-17, 2014 Games for Change (G4C) @G4C

Games for Change is the largest gaming event in NYC and brings together funders, NGOs, corporations, government agencies, and educators seeking to leverage entertainment and engagement for social good with leading game developers. Check back for registration information.

June 18-20, 2014 Games for Health Conference 2014 @GamesforHealth

Games for Health is the leading professional community in the field of health games, bringing together the best minds in game development and healthcare to advance game technologies that improve health and the delivery of healthcare. Tutorials & Communities Day pass available for $199. Games for Health Core pass available for $499. Games for Health Total pass available for $599.

June 23-25, 2014 Canadian Gaming Summit in Vancouver, British Columbia @CDNGamingSummit

The Canadian Gaming Summit is Canada’s premier annual conference and exhibition for gaming professionals. Gaming Delegate pass available at $745 until May 16th, $845 thereafter. Charitable Gaming Conference Delegate pass available at $445 until May 16th, $545 thereafter. Charitable Gaming Conference/Gaming Delegate pass available at $795 until May 16th, $895 thereafter.

July 8-10, 2014 Develop 2014 in Brighton, UK @DevelopConf

Europe’s leading developer conference where the community meets to learn, share experiences, be inspired by experts and network. 1 day pass available at £285 until May 7th, £315 until June 4th, and £385 thereafter. 2 day pass available at £465 until May 7th, £495 until June 4th, £640 thereafter. 3 day pass available at £545 until May 7th, £595 until June 4th, £745 thereafter. Audio pass, indie dev day pass, and academic passes also available.

July 14-16, 2014 Social Casino Summit at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco, CA

ScS discussions will bring established social casino leaders and those aspiring to defy them to explore the next opportunities in product design and innovation, licensing, metagames and partnerships. Super early bird rate available at $1,399 until April 25th ($1,599 for a GiGse Pass or $1,999 for a combined pass). Early bird rate available at $1,599 until May 30th ($1,799 for a GiGse Pass or $2,249 for a combined pass). Standard rate pass available at $1,699 until July 11th ($1,899 for a GiGse Pass or $2,349 for a combined pass). Onsite rate available at $1,849 until July 12th ($2,049 for a GiGse Pass or $2,499 for a combined pass).

July 17-19, 2014 Videogame Cultures & the Future of Interactive Entertainment at Mansfield College, Oxford

This inter- and multi-disciplinary conference aims to examine, explore, and critically engage with the issues and implications created by the mass use of computers and videogames for human entertainment and focus on the impact of innovative videogame titles and interfaces for human communication and ludic culture. Check back for registration information.

July 22, 2014 Serious Play Conference in at USC in Los Angeles, CA @SeriousPlayConf

The Serious Play Conference is a leadership conference for professionals who embrace the idea that games can revolutionize learning. 3 day conference professional pass available at $550 plus a fee through May 30th. Other student and faculty passes available on conference website.

July 22-24, 2014 Casual Connect in San Francisco, California @CasualConnect

Casual Connect is the place to learn more about an industry which entertains over a billion people each month. Standard early bird pass available at $500 until June 21st. Standard registration pass available at $575 until July 12th. Standard late registration pass available at $650 until July 19th. Premium and VIP passes also available.

July 24-26, 2014 Christian Game Developers Conference (CGDC) at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon

The Christian Game Developers Conference brings together developers interested in creating games inspired by Christianity. Check back for registration information. 

July 28-30, 2014 19th International Conference on Computer Games: AI, Animation, Interactive Multimedia, Virtual Worlds & Serious Games (CGAMESUSA 2014)

CGAMESUSA is an excellent chance to network with people in your field, as it connects people intent on advancing the theory and practice of computer games development. Early bird registration for IEEE members available at $400 until April 2nd, non-IEEE members at $450. Regular registration for IEEE members available at $500 after April 3rd, non-IEEE members at $550.

July 31-August 3, 2014 ChinaJoy 2014 – The 12th China Digital Entertainment Expo & Conference 2014 in Shanghai, China @ChinaJoyExpo

The 12th China Digital Entertainment Expo & Conference 2014 (ChinaJoy 2014), a platform for the comprehensive development of Chinese electronics products, with roughly 180,000 visitors, exhibitors, and professionals and 10,000 journalists, making it the largest trade show in China’s digital entertainment field. Checking conference page for registration information.

August 11-13, 2014 GDC Europe in Cologne, Germany @GDC_Europe

The Game Developers Conference Europe is the largest professionals only game industry event in Europe. Early bird all access pass available at 695€ until July 16th. Regular all access pass available at 795€ until August 6th. Onsite all access pass available at 895€. Independent Game Summit and student passes also available.

August 13-17, 2014 gamescom in Cologne, Germany @gamescomcologne

Over 340,000 visitors meet in Europe to talk about the game industry. Day ticket available for 29.00 EUR until August 12th. 3 day ticket available for 57.00 EUR.

August 20-22, 2014 Unite 2014 in Seattle, Washington

At Unite, you’ll learn how to mine Unity tools for more power and flexibility and get a sneak peek at upcoming product features and services. Super early bird tickets available at $300 plus a small fee. Student conference pass available at $180 plus a small fee. Training day pass available at $100 plus a small fee.

August 27-28, 2014 PAX Dev in Seattle, Washington @Official_PAX

PAX Dev is about elevating the art and creating a place to share, debate, and learn. Early bird pass available at $279. Student conference available at $229.

September 8, 2014 DMW Games – NY Games Conference in New York  @DMWEvents

Hundreds of industry leaders gather at the New York Games Conference to network, make deals, and share ideas about the future of games and connected entertainment. Early bird passes available at $299 plus a small fee until June 2nd, $599 plus a small fee thereafter.

September 13, 2014 Boston Festival of Indie Games (BostonFIG) in Boston @BostonFIG

The Boston Festival of Indie Games celebrates independent game development in New England and neighboring regions. Check back for registration information.

October 19-21, 2014 GDC China in Shanghai, China @GDC_China

With support from major local and national government entities, GDC China aims to advance the state of digital entertainment in China by incorporating GDC’s top-quality content and worldwide community reach. Alumni all access pass available at ¥4200 before July 5th, early bird pass at ¥5250, and regular pass at ¥6550. Alumni main conference pass available at ¥3200, early bird pass at ¥4000, and regular pass at ¥5000. Summit and tutorials pass also available.

October 29-31, 2014 Game Connection Europe in Porte de Versailles, Paris

Having added over 100 conference sessions and Master Classes to its successful formula over the previous three years, Game Connection Europe is back with a brand new edition and is looking for talented and experienced professionals interested in sharing their expertise. Conference passes available at 90€, and business passes available at 1990€.

October 31-November 2, 2014 PAX Aus 2014 in Melbourne, Vic @PAXAus

With tournaments, concerts, a handheld lounge, and widely attended speaker sessions, there’s something for everyone at PAX. 1 day pass available at $55. 3 day pass available at $150.

 

Check back for an updated list as more video game conference dates and details are announced!