Text: | Print | Share

Govt backs online game innovations for broader cultural development

2011-11-30 14:55       Web Editor: Xu Rui

The development of online games in China is provoking a whole national cultural economy to think outside the box. The cultural industry was identified as a future pillar industry and slated for strategic development by the six plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. Though online gaming is a cultural sector that is still emerging, it has been making a broad impact.

Despite being strictly regulated, online gaming ventures are inspiring other sectors to avoid narrow thinking and embrace innovation. One challenge the sector has issued to others is to integrate a wide range of resources – and not necessarily resources confined to the cultural industry, as long as appropriation serves to increase value, advises the Ministry of Culture.

Many successful games were inspired by literature, movies, TV dramas, music and tourist attractions, and the content extends their worth far beyond their cost, China Central Television (CCTV) reported recently.

New impetus for the cultural industry

The continuous hike of the growth rate and added value inherent in the whole gaming sector is guiding developments in other sectors of the cultural industry, the official website of the Ministry of Culture points out.

Data from the ministry show China's domestic online game market expanded to 34.9 billion yuan (about 5.47 billion USD) in 2010, 26.2% more than in 2009. More significantly, communications, IT, advertising and many other fields have benefited by over 60 billion yuan (about 9.4 billion USD) from the new kid on the block.

Online game prosperity at home also stimulated exports, says the website. In 2010, sales revenues for 82 exported products developed by 34 Chinese companies reached 230 million USD, a sharp increase of 111% compared to 2009. The authority predicts 2012 revenues will top 3 billion yuan (about 4.7 billion USD).

Broader applications of innovative thinking

The development mode used by Perfect World, a superlative online game brand demonstrated on several CCTV programs, not only proved it is feasible to borrow ideas from other sectors of the cultural industry, but showed a chain effect of benefits unfolded in other cultural sectors as a result.

Perfect World created a popular online game version of the blockbuster "Red Cliff," a movie based on the historic Battle of the Red Cliffs (208-209), and another based on the TV comedy "My Own Swordsman," a series about people working and living in an ancient Chinese hotel that is wildly popular on the Chinese mainland.

Besides virtual reality, their famous products also include a theme song "The Perfect World," that goes with the game – the song once staged CCTV's Spring Festival Gala – and another special activity, which offered a real experience to wuxia (martial arts and chivalry) and game fans. The activity was designed to search for the real place similar to that described in Jin Yong's wuxia novel "the Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber" and a homonym online game. In this way, the local tourism also got a serious boost.

The finely honed successful formula practiced by Perfect World gave rise to the official plan that aims to broaden the range of resources ripe for integration into online gaming. The plan is anticipated to promote the development of the cultural industry in two dimensions. In the operational dimension, trans-regional, multi-industry, and trans-ownership mergers and reorganizations are encouraged, specifically in the sectors of cultural creativity, digital publishing, mobile multimedia, and animated games. In the industrial dimension, cross-border blends of culture and tourism, sports, information technology, logistics and the construction industry are being promoted to enhance the cultural industrial chain and increase its added value.