Gaming Innovations, China and the Intel PC/TV booth demo @ CES 2008

PC Gaming in China is huge. When I say huge, I am referring to a market that has more potential gamers than the USA & Europe combined. According to The Pearl Research study Games Market/Games Development in China 2007, there are almost 48 million gamers in China playing online PC games. The same study claims that an estimated $2 Billion in revenues will be generated from this audience in 2008 (up from estimated $1.5 Billion in 2007).

Gaming in China is not played on DVD’s (legally), however online gaming in China generates more revenue than PC based DVD ROM gaming in the entire USA (source NPD). It is forecast to grow unabated for the next five years as PC penetration increases throughout the country. Revenues from gaming are largely winding up in the form of micro transactions (pay as you play) and / or advertising subsidies. According to Pearl the one of the leading gaming service provider in China is Shanda (SNDA). This year we (Intel Corporation) invited Shanda to setup their new living room online gaming concept demo on our concept TV/PC @ our CES 2008 booth . The concept has a PC (915GM with a to-be-named-later embedded CPU) integrated into a 32” LCD HD display and according to demo owners the system can be used for Music, Television, Movies and of course gaming (from Shanda).

The gaming solution allows users to log into their Shanda account and play online games against other PC/TV owners as well as those who play on standard desktop or notebook computers. The really cool thing about this isn’t playing PC games on the TV (we’ve been doing that for years). The cool thing is that Shanda is launching this service along with a handheld gesture controller. Games currently under development include Table Tennis, Super Star (a dance game), Crazy Kart (a racing game), Kong Fu Master and something called Disney. I watched the table tennis demo and while it seems like it may be n Alpha, but it was pretty comparable to the table tennis game in Wii Play. I have included screen shots of the menu system as well as photos of the PC/TV and the gesture controller. Cool stuff.

What I believe Shanda and other the Chinese gaming companies are teaching the world is that when gaming innovation is not constrained by the controlling interests of a vertical / proprietary platform owner or the needs of retail DVD game publishing sales the results will include bright ideas such as this. Let’s hope that Shanda and other gaming companies are not content to keep great ideas such as this in China alone and that they plan to export this concept to the rest of the world.

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