Mon, Jul 05, 2004 - Page 11 News List

Staking a gaming claim

Renowned Chinese saga novelist Jin Yong may never have imagined his works would be popular with everyone from retirees to schoolchildren. Wang Chin-po, founder and president of Soft-World International Corp, the nation's largest online PC game provider which vitalizes Jin Yong's characters in the virtual world, talked with 'Taipei Times' staff reporter Jessie Ho about his vision to turn online gaming into Taiwan's signature industry


TT: The problem for Taiwan's online gaming industry is the shortage of original titles. What proportion of your games are your own creations? And how will you deal with this problem?

Wang: In number terms, our original games account for more than half of our releases, but we gain most revenue from distributing South Korean products. I do understand that we must develop more games of our own to stand tall in this industry, so now we have a subsidiary, Chinesegamer International Corp (中華網龍), to do the R&D.

We have also established a research center in Kaohsiung and invited a team from Singapore to jointly develop hardware that will enhance our technology. This may take us one or two years. After that's developed, we will start producing a variety of games to distinguish ours from overseas titles.

TT: Soft-World is known for adapting Jin Yong's (金庸) saga novels as games, but local gamers have said that they want new subjects that will interest them. What do you say to this?

Wang: Our products are not only derived from Jin Yong. But I admit that we prefer Chinese cultural materials, because this is an area in which South Korea, Japan and the US cannot compete. So we will stick to this as our main theme for developing new games. We will also continue looking for other interesting materials to put in them.

TT: The government views the gaming sector as an important industry to be developed. What measures do you think would help game providers here?

Wang: I think the government has done enough because it allows gaming companies to be listed on the stock market, which helps us to raise capital from public investors and nourish our business. But the impetus for the industry, I believe, is an awareness of crisis. The once-prosperous film industry withered a long time ago, and the music industry is now controlled by overseas companies. So online gaming is the only opportunity we have left to take a lead in the international entertainment industry.

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