Mainlanders need their dose of escapism as much as the next guy it seems. I just finished a story you can find here about the white hot market for fantasy and adventure multiple role-playing games in China. This segment shot up 54%, to $460 million in 2005, and is on track to reach $2.1 billion by the end of the decade, figures research firm IDC. China is expected to even overtake tech-happy South Korea, home to a fanatical gaming community and big game developers, next year as Asia's biggest gaming market.
In reporting out the story I was impressed by the quick strides Chinese game designers have made in recent years. True, South Korean game developers such as Nexon rule the mainland market with a 45% share of the online games in operation in China. But now Chinese companies such as NetEase are developing some highly stylized interactive games of their own. Take Westward Journey Online II, which is based on the famous Chinese novel Journey to the West and a film adaptation of that classic tale by Hong Kong actor and film director Stephen Chow Sing Chi. Its visual style draws heavily from traditional Chinese paintings, and the game has drawn a strong following among mainland gamers. To see what’s hot in Chinese online gaming, check out this slide show.