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Soft Power of Chinese Culture in MMOs

Nowadays, video games have become a dominating entertainment medium. The industry alone creates tens of billions dollars for other industries, every year. Like other pop culture staples, people have noticed the influence of games on the movie and music genres. Let’s take a deeper look at the cultural influence of video games.

“Soft Power” has become more and more apparent. Through Hollywood movies, America exports its culture and ideology to every corner of our planet, making the western culture continue to be the mainstream culture of the world. In the 1980s, Japan started to challenge the leadership of the America, both economically and culturally. Animation and video gaming not only brought Japan enormous financial benefits, but also introduced Japan’s exotic culture to the audiences from other nations.

Samurais, Ninjas, Sushi - those once alien words have become familiar to the western population. It is the first time that a non-western culture has generated such a wide cultural influence in these modern times.

After Japan, the Chinese game industry started to emerge. With the growth of their economy and technology, China has already started to influence the world with her “soft power”. Following Japan’s model, China’s game companies began to make their debut in the international market. Although the Chinese game developers are the smaller newcomers of the industry, they have jumped at the chance to make online games. TQ Digital Entertainment earned its reputation with its own MMORPG, Conquer Online. Everyday, hundreds of thousands of players around the world are exploring the mythological world of ancient China, and experiencing the vivid Chinese culture in the game. In the world of CO, players can customize their characters with traditional Chinese costumes, practice various Chinese ancient weapons, battle with demons in Chinese myths and even perform traditional Chinese dancing!

The game also hosts a string of special events, all in the theme of Chinese traditional festivals, from Chinese Valentine’s Day to the Spring Festival. These special quests and elaborate background introductions provide the education of Chinese culture and traditions to non-Chinese players. Western festivals such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Halloween are widely known by Chinese people, and now, Western players can celebrate the exotic Chinese festivals in the virtual world! We can expect there will be more and more Chinese games entering the global market, so does that mean there will also be a rise in the number of Chinese culture groupies?

In conclusion, games have become an influential medium for cultural exchange. As more and more game developers from different parts of the world enter the blooming industry, players have the opportunity to experience different cultures, and at the same time enjoy more terrific games!

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Christopher2416d ago

First, Japanese and Chinese culture have been big since the early 70s. Kurosawa and Bruce Lee being the biggest notable names.

Second, while your argument provides only a single reference to an MMO based on Chinese culture, cultural influence has been existent and fairly steady since the 90s. This was helped by the fact that most of the game we played were developed by companies from the East. I would say that the "soft power" of the East has diminished with the rise of the Western gaming companies and hardware.

2412d ago