Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Finally Some Interesting Economic News


Now this is more like it. Interesting stuff. The government finally gets some fresh ideas. The government needs more stuff like this instead of just thinking about Chinese market all the time. Although in this case, Chinese language market is still part of the focus, I hope they can extend this beyond language and culture. Like what the Japanese and Korean did. (They don't just sell their games in Japan and in Korea only, right?)

Not sure if this will be a success. Video games nowadays have a very high development cost. It's no joke. To be competitive in this industry, there can be no half measure. To be successful, Taiwanese development studios have to compete (and cooperate) with studio in Japan, South Korea, Europe and the US, there is no question about it. Of course Taiwanese studio most like will start out on the smaller PS3 Network Download games. However, even those require good efforts to be successful. And in the long term, bigger titles can be considered.

There are also some concern though regarding the 40% subsidize. I don't see a problem with it. Taiwan also did that for the quite successful semi-conductor industries. However, the government should not interfere or "help" too much otherwise it will most like turn into failure like the car industries. Also, gradual reduction in the subsidization etc after the industry can stand on its own feet needs to the considered and planned.

Now...I just hope this move can turn out some real good games, and hopefully none of those stupid low quality generic games based on some lousy Chinese TV and movies like before.


Well, since I am a big gamer, might as well talk more about my opinion on Taiwan's game industry. Note though that I am not some industry guru. This is just a small part of my personal opinion. (I have a lot more thoughts on this topic, but too much to write it here).

Personally I hope some dude that really understand Taiwan can make a great game that recreate the success of the movie Cape No. 7. Of course, it has to be even better and able capture market outside of Taiwan. These will enforce the "soul" of Taiwan and letting others know what is interesting about Taiwan's culture etc. Some of the games enjoy success not because they are main stream but because they are unique and have a great loyal fan base. Taiwan cannot just rely on "Chinese" language because heck, China can probably do better with this. They already have game studios in Shanghai etc. Taiwan needs something even more to have a place of its own.)

From my observation, Taiwan's game industry also seem to have quite a narrow vision. They need to broaden it up. For example, most of the games Taiwan make have 2 type of themes. One is Chinese fantasy theme, the other is "cute" theme. They kept drawing inspiration from Chinese history and fantasy, probably because they think China has 5000 years of history or BS like that and thus there are a lot of possible inspiration. Wrong! Although 5000 years are a long time but the interesting periods are only few and far between. Plus a lot of the history stuff are just not much different. Therefore the market is saturated by games that look and sound similar. Everyone just draw from the same theme, same idea, same source. There is no way you can sell games in this way. Gamers a lot of times want something different and refreshing.

Looking at Japanese animation and games for example. They don't just draw ideas from Japanese history and fantasy. They also got inspiration from sci-fi and western fantasy. Taiwan needs to learn to do that. It does not mean to be a copy cat, but getting inspirations from new sources are important. Especially the Sci-Fi area I think Taiwan actually has a lot of potential but people never thought much of it before. Sci-Fi offer an unlimited space for imagination, but developers in Taiwan often just look at Chinese fantasy and limited their imagination into a quite narrow area.

Of course, one major problems every gamer knows about Taiwanese games are its quality. There are games with good quality of course, but there are also games that are just unplayable and a complete ripoff of players' money. This is more of a technical issues that Taiwan's software community needs to work on. However, it is also a lack of watch dog system. In the North America and else where, there are solid game website like GameSpot, Gamespy, IGN etc that has high quality and fair reviews of each games that come out.

What Taiwan needs, are websites like those, that focus on giving fair review to games, especially Taiwanese games. There are site like Gamers.com.tw and others in Taiwan but from what I can see, they don't review much games at all. Most of the time they only give preview and news. It's like a big commercial website. What we need are review sites people trust. These kind of trust can only be built over time with professional and serious reviews of each games that come out. However, this must be done, in order to restore and sustain consumers' confidence in Taiwanese games, and give developers big incentive to make great games in order to sell them well.

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