The Chinese government seeks a harmonious society. But it’s Facebook’s social games that are cooperative, while China’s closer resemble the Ultimate Fighting Championships. Of China’s top 10 social games, 9 feature competitive actions that hurt other players (see graphic); the one exception is Renren Restaurant, an exact copy of Playfish’s Restaurant City on Facebook. Of Facebook’s top 10 games, only 1 features competitive actions. Chinese players cherish intense competition.
The post has more details on the game actions, which include enslaving and humiliating friends, bombs in the hospital, and looting at the farm.
Why all the Schadenfreude, Stealing, and Status?
Three speculations as to why Chinese games are more competitive.
1) Chinese Education System
Are Chinese children hard-wired for competition at a young age? Do Chinese become accustomed, even fond, of the tools required to succeed in a hyper-competitive education system? Are social games a lifelong detox from the gaokao?
Though ambiguous and slippery, culture is often cited as a source of societal differences (and even geopolitics, in Samuel Huntington’s Clash of the Civilizations) But real-life crime rates, including theft, are not notably higher appear in China (though harsher punishments and lackadaisical reporting muddle the issue). So why should they be in social games? Luxury goods, booming in China, help make the case that status is especially important in Chinese culture.
3) Specific to Social Games
Perhaps Chinese are more apt to add “friends” on social networks, even if there’s no close personal relationship. That could lead to fewer reservations about stealing from your “friends.” China’s prolific online friendships are evidenced by the finding that Chinese have more online than offline friends. Or perhaps Chinese netizens simply have a better sense of humor than Westerners when it comes to the value of virtual goods.
China Social Games is a blog dedicated to tracking the hottest games, networks, and trends. Though already wildly popular in China (and on Facebook), social gaming is still in its infancy. Games are just starting to become truly social, so the China market is evolving, innovative, and yes, extremely competitive. China Social Games offer up-to-the-minute coverage as the market grows, consolidates, and Western players enter.
Our latest guest posts:
- TechCrunch: China To Police Social Games
- VentureBeat: China’s growing addiction: online farming games
- VentureBeat: The year it exploded: 10 hottest Chinese social games of 2009