Is China right to be suspicious of imported games technology?

So in the last few months Edward Snowden has rocked the world with his various revelations about the massive and seemingly unsupervised invasions of privacy perpetrated by the NSA and its collaborators, including my country’s own MI5. He recently released a document showing the NSA’s infiltration of numerous games and gaming communities in an attempt to decide whether people are or are not plotting wicked deeds disguised as humble fantasy critters.

The most publicised game has been World of Warcraft however further evidence suggests that Xbox Live may be compromised and others a may follow. Couple this with the recent revelation that the NSA, through legal witchcraft, justified the tapping of google servers and we can suddenly see why certain countries may think twice before allowing American companies to operate freely within their borders.

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China has always had a bad reputation within the gaming community due to censors that make it very difficult, often impossible for companies to legally release their games within its borders. Couple this with rampant piracy, which has only recently begun to be reigned in, and we very quickly notice that a bubble has begun to form around China.

Yes, Chinese are playing western games, but they play single player games without multiplayer support to avoid being discovered. They don’t connect their Xboxes to the internet for the same fear and they play online games on dedicated servers hosted by Chinese companies. The original speculation for this was freedom of speech, we have it and China doesn’t, the Chinese government wanted to keep a barrier between its young, impressionable population and the dangerous ideas of liberated foreigners.

However we must now consider the possibility that these decisions were based less on internal control and more on removing the risk of external meddling. If this is true then we must consider the daunting possibility that China made the right move in keep us out.

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The Ministry of Culture’s strictness with foreign games and gaming technology may have been the right move.

Over the past fifteen years China has managed to create and maintain a bubble around itself. In doing so China , which already struggles with connecting to the outside world has prevented a huge amount of western gaming technology from entering. This bubble has potentially denied NSA and others access to vast amounts of information from Chinese sources, as we know gaming in China, especially online gaming, is huge and the wealth of information passed between Chinese netizens is probably inestimable. Denying access to this information will certainly be high priority to anyone in the Chinese government as secrecy is still the name of the game here.

These recent revelations have undoubtedly confirmed what the Chinese government has always suspected, that American companies are not as disconnected from their government as they claim and could be trojan horses for China. So how will this affect gamers? Well the recent revelation of China’s relaxation on game consoles will probably be impacted, I suspect online games will be made playable only on Chinese servers and invasive procedures like linking online accounts with citizen ID numbers will continue. I also suspect we will continue to see life made difficult for western developers attempting to sell within China as they will be treated with a new level of suspicion.

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Perhaps the saddest repercussion will be the strengthening of China’s isolating bubble. The Chinese people have no desire to be snooped on by Americans and this type of revelation only serves to win the government support in its goal to isolate China’s internet from the rest of the world. In other words these revelations may prevent cultural exchange within the gaming community and prevent us from mutual improvement but by far the most upsetting fact for a westerner in China is that the Chinese Government was right not to trust us.

The post Is China right to be suspicious of imported games technology? appeared first on Games in Asia.


The post Is China right to be suspicious of imported games technology? appeared first on Games in Asia.
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