2015 ChinaJoy (July 30th to August 2nd) has ended. Together with a number of meetings and parties during the time, ChinaJoy attracted all elites of Chinese game industry, a number of practitioners of the industry from all over the world, and hundreds of thousands of visitors from outside of Shanghai. So what’s ChinaJoy for them? From my personal point of view, ChinaJoy is queuing, dating and boasting for most of them.
In the halls of ChinaJoy exhibition, Chinese visitors are so keen for game companies’ gifts that they often wait in long lines in front of each stand. The gifts are usually just small dolls, but visitors often need to wait for 15 minutes or longer for them. Just like the scantily clad showgirls, such gifts don’t seem to be related to games in any way, and thus become a target of criticism about ChinaJoy’s not being a pure game exhibition.
However, game companies surely have their considerations. When a game company doesn’t have a really good game, presenting gifts and showing pretty girls are both parts of some kind of subtle emotional push towards visitors, and an effective way to win hearts of potential gamers.
Dates during ChinaJoy are usually blind ones. It is believed that during the several days of ChinaJoy, each night has dozens of dinners/parties, some are totally open, some are semi-open, and some are closed/invitation-based (some people even fought with reception personnel to enter a closed party). People often find it hard to choose one party among many in different places but at the same time. Usually the parties have a theme, such as “Going Overseas with Some Platform”, “Reciprocal Banquet by Some Game Company”, etc., but most attendees of the dinners/parties don’t seem to have a definite target, they just wander around, and might chat with anybody nearby. Overseas guests are always very popular.
However, are such dates useful? The answer is usually no. Many people left the parties finding that they are just tired for nothing but only exchange of name cards and WeChat accounts.
The random meetings reflect the chaos and fierce competition of Chinese mobile game market to some extent. Most people are lost, trying their luck for new opportunities, to increase their possibility of surviving, just like they test their products in the market randomly.
If you attend ChinaJoy and surrounding conferences to learn deep knowledge about the Chinese market, you may end up disappointed. Bosses on the stage are always busy boasting their own companies or products, directly or indirectly. Such boastings are rarely related to games themselves, they are often about earnings, marketing, game categories, number of gamers– all about money.
Their brave words on making money will soon be multiplied by Chinese media websites on game industry, who copy content from each other, as if they’re unveiling universal truth. If you want to get information closer to games and gamers, you may want to attend smaller conferences, such as this year’s Indie Games Forum and Game Ethnics and Culture Forum.