5 MMORPGs Chinese Players Dream to Play
A few days ago we talked about some of the major titles that we had to wait a lot in order to get a western version, and after checking this reddit post where things turned into a small war (besides the article format), it seems like the Asian players have the same issues regarding different MMOs that came too late or never saw the light of day.
Today we are going to take a look at those games and just to be clear from the beginning, this article contains already released MMOs that didn't reach the CN market in time.
Path of Exile
Grinding Gear Games started developing a new hack-and-slash game somewhere in 2007, and three years later, on September 1, 2010 they announced Path of Exile, a new game that was considered by some players to be the spiritual successor of Diablo 2.
After a long closed beta phase, the game entered the open beta on January 23, 2013 and made it on Steam on October 23, 2013. Path of Exile was well received and was named PC Game of the Year by Gamespot and PC role-playing game of 2013 by IGN. In February 2014 the game was already surpassing the 5 million registered user mark.
Shortly after the official launch, Chinese players tried to contact Grinding Gear Games through various methods including emails, forum posts, etc. in order to get a localized version in their country. As the publisher was quite new on the market, players soon realized that their only chance at that time was to start playing on our servers.
For some Asian players the solution came pretty fast as in November 14, 2013 Path of Exile entered a Closed Beta phase in Malaysia/Singapore, through Garena, while others had to wait a few more years. On the official announcement, Grinding Gear Games assured its players that there will not be an IP restriction, so they will be able to continue playing on the western server if they so desire.
Due to China strict online policies, it's almost impossible for a western publisher to localize its games there, so they had to sign a deal with one of the local giants such as Tencent, Shanda Games, Netease, etc.
This year, Tencent and Grinding Gear Games (latest reports made by SuperData claim that they are 19th worldwide on the f2p MMO market) finally reached an agreement. The wait is not over yet, as the Chinese version needs to remove/censor several things like skeletons and other dead things. Besides graphic elements there might be other issues that needs to be adressed before the launch, such as the story behind a lesbian character.
"For example, in Path of Exile, one of the characters is lesbian. We don’t make a big deal about this, but it’s there. It’s mentioned in various bits in passing, this subtlety. This is something that wouldn’t be allowed if it was completely visible." said Chris Willson, game founder and general manager at Grinding Gear Games.
The CN version will have its own servers and will probably have a distinct business model, as China is well known for its p2w market (they have a different approach towards the cash shop, and what we considered to be a deal breaking may pass as something fair over there).
Pearl Abyss' latest sandbox MMORPG was in development since 2010 and entered the closed beta testing phase in KR on October 2013. Black Desert was released in 2014 in KR, in 2015 in Japan and Rusia and in 2016 in North America and Europe through Kakao Games. Besides the EU/NA versions that are b2p, the other versions are f2p with the usual cash shop.
The original reviews were quite good and the original announcements hinted at over 400.000 copies sold in the first month on the western market, and also 100.000 concurrent users. Now the game slowly recovers after a huge scandal regarding the new p2w system that was announced by Kakao Games.
Besides some old rumors, we don't have any news regarding a chinese publisher. Some screens with a chinese translation were circulating around the web, but I wasn't able to track the original source, so I am thinking that probably Pearl Abyss has started the localization process, as we had several such screens back in the day, when all we did was browse through KR gameplay videos, hoping that one day this AAA MMORPG will be available on the west.
Will there ever be a Black Desert CN release? I'm sure there will, but it will probably come towards the end of 2018.