A forgotten piece of history. This AMA featured a large number of discussion on topics such as the Chinese Market, Nintendo, Genuine VS. Piracy, and Game Approval Policies.
In late 2007, iQue launched an event in a game forum called Levelup, after releasing "the latest Game Boy Advance title" F-Zero: Maximum Velocity (which was actually the last iQue GBA release). It was an interactive event with direct participation from iQue employees, where netizens freely asked questions and received answers.
The event was called the "iQue Guest Lounge (iQue会客厅)", and lasted for a couple of months. It was split into ten issues, each of which with hundreds of questions. Employees from the development, marketing, and other departments answered the questions with enthusiasm and showed a very positive attitude.
The event was conducted on the Levelup forum. Sadly, Levelup.cn was gone from the internet, and the posts vanished into the air. Almost all records of the AMA disappeared when the forum terminated its service. We used to naively think that the internet records are forever, and anything posted online would not be gone. Sadly, they will.
Given this unfortunate situation, we tried to recreate this largest public AMA event in iQue's history from fragments such as internet snapshots and reposts on other websites. We would like to again give our sincerest thanks to @暗之天皇, whose numerous reposts to the 神游 (iQue) Tieba and many question in the Guest Lounge event became the most important text source for our research.
Sadly, due to the "downfall" of Tieba, a large number of posts vanished into thin air, and these data were again lost. Thankfully, OldBag made a backup in secret in advance…or this piece of history would have really been gone this time.
The process of organizing was cumbersome. We had to work with fragmented snapshots, reposts on Tieba, blogs, and spaces, and then re-edit and combine the material. In order to be as faithful as possible to the original interview, I [the Chinese editor] did not make a single change to the questions or answers [in the Chinese repost], even if there were typos.
Reposts of the discussions in issues 8-10 are now impossible to find as their topics were not highly relevant to iQue or the game industry in China (such as what games people play during the holidays), so they are not included at present. Should anyone have the contents of the final issues, please provide them so we may complete this thread.
Since I did not participate in this event, almost all of the information came from others' retelling, so omissions and incorrect attributes may be inevitable. Please do not hesitate to correct if witnesses of the event should find any issues with this article.
This revision [the Chinese repost in 2019 and the 2021 translation] comes with some extra notes, which will be highlighted [in blue].
In order to be faithful to the original, this repost and organization [the Chinese repost] did not make a single change to the original language.
After the release of Animal Crossing, iQue released two new games this summer: Super Mario 64 DS for the iQue DS and F-Zero: Maximum Velocity for the iQue GBA.
As the only video game platform provider in China, iQue 神游 has, since the first authorized China release in 2003, provided dozens of classic games in Chinese. The upcoming Super Mario 64 DS and F-Zero: Maximum Velocity are the 24th and 25th titles of the company. As disclosed by iQue-related personnel, iQue has completed its hardware product placement of "Living Room Entertainment Center + On-the-go Entertainment Center (客厅娱乐中心+随身娱乐中心)", as the preparations of the iQue Wii reach its final stages. iQue plans to shift its focus to software, and to support the entire system of China's authorized-release game industry with large amounts of content and support.
Spoilers: The iQue Wii was never released and is now long forgotten.
At the same time, iQue, in a collaboration with the Ultra Console Game (UCG, 游戏机实用技术) magazine, published the first ranking of authorized game releases in China–the iQue Game Ranking (iQue游戏榜). This ranking is based on the company's entire lineup and ranked according to the monthly sales of each game. In foreign countries, various game rankings are the barometer of the video game market, and a guide for players' choice. This ranking, announced by iQue, filled the void of China's local game rankings, and, from another perspective, reflected the fact that China's console game industry is shifting from the hardware era to the software era.
After the release of the first ranking for authorized games, iQue has also launched a series of related events. Aside from the "Guess Ranking, Win Handheld (猜榜单、赢掌机)" event in collaboration with dozens of media, another highlight is the participation in the "iQue Nintendo News Guest Lounge(iQue任天堂新闻会客厅)" event, taking place on this website. We will now welcome the main development and marketing teams to reside on this forum, and answer each question of gamers' interest. The mysterious company iQue will now actively rise from low profile from the encouragement of LevelUp users, and actively accept the most direct "interrogation" from gamers. This also shows the consistent sincerity of the company that has cultivated China's video game industry for five years. We believe the launch of this News Guest Lounge program will assemble more and more gamers who support authorized releases in China, and together, make suggestions for a bright future for iQue, or even the entire video game industry of China.
Word from the Host:
iQue Nintendo News Guest Lounge just launched last night, and we already collected 11 pages of questions! When we shared this info to iQue personnel, they were also shocked. It's known that every department in iQue is currently in a state of hustle (to prepare the iQue Wii?), yet they still quickly responded to our featured selection of questions. Here are the Q&As from the first period.
August 1st, 2007. Answers to gamers' questions from iQue's marketing department:
Hello, fellow gamer friends! Perhaps this discussion came a bit late, but we are off to a good start. I hope you and I can have a great time conversing on the platform "iQue Nintendo News Guest Lounge"!
I read through the questions carefully, and there is one misconception I must clarify first–iQue is not an agent for any company, and we have our own rights for various hardware and software…This is something we have probably clarified many times before.
Next, I would like to address the widespread issues of slow and few game releases, and services that are provided in a foreign country but not China…If these problems, originated from this Country's situation, did not exist, then iQue would not have been the only platform provider video game company to persist for 5 years in Mainland China. Five years of persistence does not come without at least some kind of faith. Please have faith in iQue that we clearly know what we are doing, and what the gamers want.
Finally, if you encounter issues with your iQue product, please form the habit of contacting customer support and service centers first, so as to avoid losses from resorting to unofficial methods. Contacts for customer support and service centers can be found on our official website.
The above questions are frequently asked and will not be answered independently in future. We will now answer questions on a first-come, first-served basis.
Q: Your DS games are very very hard to purchase. Hope there is an improvement on that front, and it's best to have an official mail order~
A: Due to historic reasons, China lacks a sales channel for authorized video game releases. After years of hard work, iQue has established a nationwide distribution network. You can look up your local retailer at http://www.ique.com/s_salestation.htm. Besides, we have online purchase channels from our collaborators (such as China Merchants Bank Credit Card Club). There is also a recent summer promotion from 3C LIFE website of discounted group buy for new iQue games and consoles. (http://home.3clife.com/hd/tuangou/ique/) You may choose your favorite method of purchase.
Q: What is your opinion of Mainland China's consumer purchasing power, and their cognition on the cost-performance ratio of authorized products for China?
A: In most cases, authorized products have guarantees in quality and after-sale service, as well as more reasonable pricing. It has occurred to many that every time a new iQue product is released on the market, the price of corresponding imports will be adjusted to an acceptable price–basically keeping in check the phenomenon of hoarding imports or selling them at skyrocketing prices. As the selection of authorized products becomes more complete and are sold at more favorable prices, imports will reach an end of their role in history, survive on their last legs as used or refurbished products, or simply leave the market.
Q: I wonder if the rumored "domestically developed game" are still in the works? Does iQue keep approximate sales of iQue DS games?
A: iQue had attempted to develop its own content as early as 2003. Aside from original games, there are also non-game projects in the works. Of course, they are all planned for the latest platform. We plan to bring about the good news if all is going to plan.
As for the sales, we definitely keep records of that. iQue has also announced iQue Game Ranking by monthly sales, and the Guess Ranking, Win Handheld giveaway is now in session. Please visit our website http://www.iQue.com for more information. If you are confident of your prediction skills, why not try to win an iQue DS Lite? :)
Q: When will the 12 iQue games that have already been approved be released? Are there any differences regarding releasing game hardware or software in China or abroad (Japan)? Or should I ask, what are the obstacles?？
A: …Good question, bro. You even dug up the list of already approved games. That list is true, but we have far more than 12 games undergoing the process of approval. The list you see is only a part of the long process of approval, since the release of a game requires approval from various departments from both central and local governments. I would like to refrain from delving into further details but we have been always working on that front. Fortunately, iQue has been in the works for 5 years, and the future will only get better.
Note: The "list of already approved games" was a list of unreleased iQue games approved for sale, and most of the games have not been heard of since. Only a few prototype cartridges of some iQue GBA games in the list surfaced in 2019.
Q: I strongly recommend iQue to release a game like WarioWare: Twisted.
A: This is a very good game, possibly the most creative GBA title. We actually had plans to release the game in China, but during the actual process of localization, we found that the special motor hardware in the cartridge requires an approval process according to domestic regulations. Releasing this game will yield a process as complicated as releasing a console, so we gave up with regret.
Q: Will the release of Chinese-language games have various content modified due to China-specific reasons??
A: Like the Beijing Chicken Roll of KFC, adding Chinese elements to games released in China is a way to localize games further and more in depth. iQue has added many Chinese festivals and events in Animal Crossing for the iQue Player, and was critically acclaimed by the players. We will continue to provide such quality content. Of course, whether to add Chinese elements to a game should also depend on the original settings of a game. I believe Chinese gamers will find it unacceptable for the Tiananmen to appear in Metroid. :)
Q: How does iQue slowly change China from a country that "sells game consoles" to one that "sells game consoles and game software", so that we, the Chinese gamers, could enjoy masterpieces with Simplified Chinese on day one?
A: Due to historic reasons, the sales of genuine software in China has always been an international topic. iQue hopes to serve as the pioneer under this situation, and from the continuous hard work from our game developers, we have released 26 titles in total into the market, which is an outstanding number i among game publishers in China. At the same time, we are working with various parties to build a benign atmosphere for the consumption of genuine software, such as the iQue Game Ranking being the first official ranking for console games. We believe the TV game industry will reach its spring in a shorter period, because both we and the gamers are persevering. Isn't that right?
Q: iQue's advertising and promotions are too low-ley. Why doesn't the official website have forums or message boards? The games take too long to finish!! iQue should spend less time localizing games!
A: According to national regulations, hosting forums or message boards require permits, which iQue is actively applying for. As for the localization work affecting progress, that is not an issue. Our teams are highly efficient, and localization or other development processes are not the bottleneck that inhibits the speed of new releases onto the market.
Q: Will iQue unite with other game websites or magazines?
A: If by unite you mean "collaboration", well, you are now in the iQue Guest Lounge hosted by LEVELUP right now. :) At the same time, the latest issue of UCG will publish the iQue Game Ranking, a list that will review the trend of authorized releases. If you can't wait for the magazine, you can also read it on our website at http://www.iQue.com. The debut also comes with a "Guess Ranking, Win Handheld" event, which is now in progress.
Q: Does the iQue DS Lite have any new hidden features that we do not know of, aside from the Chinese games?
A: All of iQue's authorized release consoles are adjusted and given new unique features according to the situation in China. All of the new generation consoles have internet capabilities, and the advantage of the authorized console over import models will be revealed after iQue rolls out unique online services.
Spoilers: The iQue DS family did not come with unique internet features, and Nintendo WFC compatible games weren't released until the iQue DSi.
Topic: Do you know how a game comes into existence? Do you want to know about the hardships behind development?
Guest: MoMo, from iQue's Game Engineering Department. (Participated in projects: "Super Mario 64 DS", "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time", etc.)
*After everyone has asked their questions, we will select the most valuable question for the guest to answer. Please pay close attention for the latest updates of the Guest Lounge!
Records of the Guest Lounge, 2nd issue:
Q: Why does a iQue Player launch package unit have errors with its internal clock, or plays normally but has crashing bugs during gameplay?
A: These problems are caused by the normally-drained internal battery. Customers encountering these issues can get their batteries changed at our designated service centers. For other questions, please contact our customer service center. (0512-62883599 serivce@iQue.com) serivce@iQue.com）
P.S.: During our discussion, we found that a lot of gamers went through a bit of a detour because they did not contact our customer center first. It is a good habit to contact the official customer support as users of authorized products.
Q: Was The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (OOT) localized based on the Japanese version, the American version, or an integration of both? Why could I find details different from the American version but identical to the Japanese version when I compared the iQue version to the American version, but also found details different from the Japanese version but identical to the American version when I compared it to the Japanese version?
A: Wow, we have a really attentive gamer here. :) The earliest version of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in this world is the Japanese version. Commonly, the industry considers the Japanese version as the original work, and the American version is translated from the Japanese version. If you have carefully played the American version, you would find that the understanding of some details have deviated from the original setting due to cultural differences, and the Japanese version, which was released earlier, had some regrets that were left unfixed. Therefore, when we were making the iQue version of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the original producer had specially put forward issues that were unresolved in the American and Japanese versions, and asked us to make the Chinese version the most perfect version of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, by integrating the advantages of both the American and Japanese versions. Of course, we were able to accomplish that goal in the end.
Q: Everybody knows that the greatest difficulty in fan-translating a video game is hacking the game itself. Actually, I'd like to ask: What is the greatest technical difference between official and fan translations?
A: There are no hackings required for official translations, since we are working from the source code. As for the greatest difference between official and fan translation, I think it's the difference in quality requirements. First, during the stage of original translation, the original developers would work together with the localizers, so that the translation would fully display the spirit of the original work, and has no ambiguities or style issues. This is the most time-consuming process which requires a lot of communication. When it comes to the technical stage, there's a requirement down to every pixel of the image and every punctuation of the text, and there will never be semi-finished work such as a sign in foreign language in a scene. These are all localization requirements of international standard.
Q: When iQue is making Chinese software (localized games), has the company ever considered cooperating with fan translation groups, or outsource the work to those groups and do quality checks on their work?
A: We welcome unofficial groups joining us in the localization process, but there are strict regulations on the qualification of such collaboration groups. Therefore, we have seen that, while there are many unofficial game studios, they can rarely get projects from big international companies. The main reason is that most foreign developers have no faith in China's state of intellectual property protection. The images of unofficial local groups are also not very good in the eyes of these major companies, so they have a very small chance in participating in international projects.
We hereby recommend skillful unofficial groups to try another route–develop original work. In China, one must have to make their own path in order to make changes to some matters and situations. We welcome such teams with ideas to cooperate with us. I would also like to use this opportunity to announce this channel of cooperation: Those who are interested may contact us at marketing@iQue.com.
Q: Hope iQue can announce a list of expected games, and localize/release games according to the priority voted by the gamers.
A: That's a very good suggestion. Actually, we have made serious consideration about it. Especially when a large number of games are released in the future, forms such as an expected game list can play a very big role in decision-making. Of course, we need to do things one step at a time. This month, we first debuted the "iQue Game Ranking" (http://www.ique.com/top10.htm) as our first step, and we would like everyone to first give their support to this list. For those who are confident in predicting game sales, you may also participate in the "Guess Ranking, Win Handheld" event, and you might win an iQue DS Lite!
Q: Aside from releasing Nintendo's first party titles, could iQue consider releasing second and third party titles?
A: Our third party releases such as Sin and Punishment were well received. As for the release count that was out of proportion, honestly speaking, it is far more difficult to publish a third party game in China as compared to a first or second party game. The main obstacle is the overall environment of China is seen by most third party companies as a perilous place, and they also care about the government's progress on protecting intellectual property rights. Currently, the trend is going in a good direction. Our list of unreleased games will be announced when the time is right.
Q: As Chinese gamers, what can we do?
A: This guy has asked many questions, most of which were already answered in the previous issue, so we will not be repeating them here. However, your last question moved those of us who work in the industry. I believe you have followed China's genuine game industry for quite some time already. When we discussed with some gamers in private, many have asked: "What can we do for iQue?" Honestly, instead of doing something for iQue, why not ask this question along with iQue: "What can we do for China's videogame industry?" As the only platform provider in China, our hope is to have more company coming into the Chinese market, and make it a bigger one, and have more gamers join the game development team, forming a virtuous cycle of talents–The reason why people ask "why" is because they are outside the community. After they truly become part of it, they will be able to answer these questions themselves.
Q: After the Wii's release, will game development or localization for older consoles be terminated? (Such as the iQue Player or the iQue GBA)
A: Of course not. The GBA title F-Zero: Maximum Velocity was one of such games, which we just released this month. Meanwhile, on our list of unreleased games, there is a large portion of GBA and iQue Player games. I would like to disclose some information. That is, these games are not only guaranteed quality, but also come with new elements. These games will be more fun than traditional GBA and iQue Player titles.。
Spoilers: Neither the iQue Wii nor any planned iQue Player/iQue GBA games ever saw sunlight.
1. Could iQue games be sold at a uniform price around the country?
2. I found that the iQue counter in some shops are selling bootlegs and imports. The iQue flagship store online is selling import DS games.
3. There is too little software available for 3C LIFE group buys.
1. We've answered the inquiry about uniform price before. Due to channel and regional differences, a uniform price is impossible (because China's too large). If you observe carefully, electronics of various brands do not have a true uniform price in the country. It's less that we were unwilling to do so and more that we couldn't. It's because of this nation's situation.
2. According to our knowledge, there are many malls in China that sell bootlegs and import alongside authorized products, and this is not a phenomenon unique to videogame products. As related laws and enforcement strengthen in China, we believe the market will become more standardized, and expect such strange phenomena to disappear as quickly as possible
3. This group buy event was initiated by the famous 3C magazine Consumer Electronics World(消费电子世界), and there will be more of such events in the future. If you have any inquiries about the group purchase, you may contact 3C life website at http://home.3clife.com/hd/tuangou/flow.html.
Q: Compared to some American and Japanese Nintendo DS Lite units, almost all of the ones with a broken hinge are the iQue models. How do you explain this? Is it because they underwent different production processes?
A: First of all, all DS Lite products around the world are manufactured using the same materials, standard, and process, and produced on the same production line. There are no differences in quality, and that includes the iQue DS Lite.
Secondly, as the authorized product in China, the iQue DS Lite is safer with a China standard power supply, and a stronger after sale guarantee from warranty services required by national regulations.
Finally, I would like to tell everyone with responsibility that the iQue DS Lite has an absolute advantage in market share over all other DS Lite models. More businesses selling the iQue DS Lite shows that more consumers are choosing the iQue DS Lite. From the marketing pattern, consumers always pick the best product from objective comparison, wouldn't you agree?
Q: Is iQue hiring translator staff? I have English and Japanese skills, and I live in Wuxi, which is not far from Suzhou. I am graduating next year, and would very much like to work at iQue.
A: You can go to http://www.ique.com/job.jsp and deliver your resume to our human resource department in a method that's best for you. Thank you for your interest in iQue and we hope you succeed!
Word from the host:
We have stopped accepting questions for the third issue of our Guest Lounge AMA. We have received many interesting questions this time, and Allen from iQue's Game Development Department has promptly answered our carefully selected questions. The records are below.。
Records of the Guest Lounge, 3rd issue:
Q: Why are there no original games from iQue in the market, even after so long? What are iQue's future development plans and market goals??
A: We have multiple original games in the works. Developing a game is a huge system engineering project, and it requires a long development period. We will announce these works when the time is right, and would like everyone to wait patiently. As for our future goals, I would like to quote Nintendo's former president, Yamauchi: "My greatest dream is to see a game console from our company in every family's living room with a TV." Sure, the video game industry now is an entirely new look compared to what it was a few decades ago, but such a goal is still the highest ideal for anyone devoted to the video game industry.
Spoilers: The only original iQue game ever released was The Sea Hare, published on the iQue DSi. None of the original iQue GBA games saw daylight.
Q: What living conditions are iQue's developers working under? Does the development progress become more rushed because of schedule, development plans, or software censorship? How do developers manage their usual meals?
A: Hmm, that's a good question. The video game industry has often been referred to as "Gold-collared" or "Uprising Industry" by outsiders, as if one can enjoy a cozy life after joining a video game company and playing games every day. However, when you actually step into the industry, you will find that the truth is not as good as you imagined. The release of a game is the product of the hard work and toil of every member on the team. Every game has its own development cycle, and we care the most about quality. It is only out of our collaborative efforts that we can develop a game to near perfection in a limited development cycle. There is definitely pressure, but because we have love for the video game industry, and perseverance in game development, pressure becomes our motivation in work. Perhaps some may pass my words off as bragging, but I'm not exaggerating a single bit that every member of our team had a toilsome life. Here's an example: our artwork guy had to keep revising a title screen for over a week, on the level of a few pixels' difference. Only after dozens of repetitive communication with the artwork director from the original Japanese producer was he able to polish the work up to standard. That artwork guy got depressed for a long time because of it, but in retrospect, he thinks the work back was worth it. These minor optimizations may be unnoticeable to the average player if not highlighted, but it is the accumulation of these minor details that give people the feel of high quality, and this is the goal we are always working towards. As for our meals…sigh. Prices are soaring, and fast food, which is already not cheap, is not an exception. Good meals hurt the wallet, but mediocre food is a shame to our body under such intense work and pressure. Under such a dilemma, the only solution is–bringing food from home, which is both economic and nutritious. It is really tough to work in the game industry, heh~
Q: How does iQue's partner, Nintendo, see China's video game market and gamers? Will iQue collaborate with major game companies home and abroad other than Nintendo?
A: We have cultivated the Chinese market for 5 years, and we are still the only platform provider in China. I believe this fact should give you the answer. As for the collaboration with other companies, we have never stopped trying. Yet, due to the conditions of China, some foreign game publishers are not highly enthusiastic towards the Chinese market, as compared to the forefront markets of North America and Europe. We are currently working on helping our partners to better understand the Chinese video game industry, but it takes time to improve cooperation. Such collaborations will eventually prove to be a win-win situation, quoting a recent slogan [for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics]--One World, One Dream.
Q: What exactly is the iQue NC1 System Software 1.0, present in the test report from Suzhou Software Test Center? Is it something for the upcoming Wii Platform?
A: This system is applicable to all iQue Platforms, but I'm afraid I have to keep the remaining information a secret for now, or I would lose my job. :)
Note: This software might be for the iQue NetCard service, a cancelled online service similar to the iQue@Home service, and planned across all iQue platforms.
Q: Will iQue release derivative game products by acquiring adaptation rights of domestic cartoons and comics ?
A: That's a good suggestion, and we've been getting constant inquiries for collaboration from cartoon/comic-related companies, but we have yet to see Chinese cartoons or comics of outstanding quality. Should such works arise in the future, we will certainly be willing to make games based on their work.
Q: What kind of mood were you in when you developed these classic games?
A: First, one must be passionate about video games, as passion is a must to do anything well. I love the game industry because I love videogames themselves; second, one must be patient. Game development is a cumbersome process, with many details to pay attention to, and one will only produce work of subpar quality should these details be ignored; finally, one must be confident. No matter how difficult the project may be, or how tight the schedule is, one must have faith in their team.
Q: We know you developed Yoshi Touch & Go and Super Mario 64 DS, both of which are games of the Super Mario franchise. What is the greatest difference between the two in your opinion?
A: The largest difference is control. The highlight of Yoshi Touch & Go is drawing clouds with the DS stylus, and blowing them away with the microphone. Super Mario 64 DS, however, carries on the style of Mario's action games. While the game also supports touch control with the thumb touch pad, we still recommend using traditional D-pad and A/B button controls for such an action-demanding game.。
Q: Did you also participate in the development of Yoshi Touch & Go's predecessor, [Super Mario Advance 3:] Yoshi's Island ? What are their similarities and differences in your opinion?
A: Yoshi's Island was managed by another guy in our department, so I will be sharing my own views: Yoshi's Island is, in general, a traditional action game. Aside from featuring cute characters, the game's crayon art style is also a highlight. As Yoshi Touch & Go is for the DS, a platform with unique features, the game emphasizes on making use of touch controls and microphone features, so as to provide smiles for the players that are different from traditional games. We've seen many surprised faces from demo players who blew the clouds away for the first time.
Q: What was your greatest obstacle during development?
A: The greatest difficulties during localization were mostly on the language and text, where we needed to perfectly express the game's concepts with concise language. The greatest difficulty was probably to translate the game script in the most accessible language to the players without affecting the original ideas. There's also a second point which is an international standard: the original development team will participate in the localization process of any country. However, because Chinese is a very broad and profound language, sometimes a very bright translation actually needs more work done to help the original developers understand their Chinese meanings. This is sometimes a painful yet happy moment.
Q: How about introducing more of the hard journeys of software development, on the official website or in forums? Will there be more interviews with developers in the future? Could we ask them to come here for periodic guest sessions?
A: Actually, the guys in our development department are all rather shy. For instance, we had to do quite the coax and pester for the guy last week to agree to do an AMA, so why don't you encourage him this time? :) For every new issue of the Guest Lounge, we will have a member who worked on a different game as the guest, and we thank you for your long-term support.
Q: Have Nintendo's developers directly or indirectly participated in the development of iQue software?
A: If you're talking about our original software, Nintendo's primary task is to serve as the advisor, which is to say, they help to solve issues we encountered during development, as well as giving suggestions on making products of international standard. Nintendo has the most experienced top-notch producers of the industry, and they provide great contributions to the development of iQue's original software.
Q: How were the developed games carefully selected? Are there any interesting stories or disagreements during development you can share with the gamers?
A: During the primary selection stage, the representatives of various departments would gather together and give their choices from their perspectives. Of course, everyone's opinions would differ and disagreements during development are inevitable. If disagreements arise, we would solve it through discussion, listen to the opinions of the majority, and the project manager make the final decision after a comprehensive consideration.
Q: Do officials from the government's game censorship department also indirectly participate in the development process? Do they provide criticism or suggestions during the process?
A: The work of government officials is to censor games according to national laws so as to prevent violating content from appearing. The scope of censorship involves the game's packaging/manual, theme, text, and imagery, etc. Should any issues be found, they will ask the developer to modify these content and send them into approval again. Only after passing the 3 review processes will a game get its legal identity, and from there, production and release will be planned.
Q: Does iQue have the capability to develop a new game independently? Does iQue need approval from Nintendo to develop a DS game? In other words, do iQue games count as Nintendo's second party games, or are they essentially Nintendo games?
A: For the many original products we are working on, we launched the projects ourselves. As for what counts as first party or second party, I would like to clarify it first: Many gamers think that games developed by Nintendo's headquarters are first-party, but the definition is not that simple. For instance, many people think of Mario Kart DS as a first party game, but it's a second party title, despite being developed by Nintendo HQ department. Some other games, while developed by other companies, were released as first-party games. This is because the definition of the publisher is related to the ownership of copyright, which is not as simple as the developer company. Therefore, whether iQue's original software falls under first-party or second-party will depend on the actual game and applicable laws.。
Q: What's iQue's view on [the current issue with] developing original games? Does iQue lack personnel to work on the game? Or does iQue lack people with wonderful imaginations like Shigeru Miyamoto? Or could there be some other reasons?
A: We do not lack personnel or creativity when it comes to developing original games, but rather, experience and the perseverance of quality. To some extent working slowly and carefully can guarantee a game's quality, and the greatest problem of China's video game industry is that it lacks the mature environment in that of foreign countries. Most developers who first joined the game industry have not experienced systematic training.Building a team that can take full responsibilities in the first few years is iQue's primary task.。
Q: Does iQue have plans to file lawsuits against domestic bootleg manufacturers and media that distribute pirated software (like websites)?
A: As a game company, we certainly like to see acts of intellectual property right infringement kept in check. However, we are not law enforcers, and the improvement of the overall environment is led by related government agencies. Our legal department is keeping a close eye on the development of the situation, and we will aid government actions when the time is appropriate. As a member of the development team, I have an unspeakable feel when I see our new releases get pirated. The guys in our department love to play all kinds of games in our spare time, and we often discuss and read posts on BBSes as well. However, many of us don't go onto the forums in the few days after the release of a new game, because they got a bad taste in their mouth from reading some of the posts and comments, and they couldn't do much about it. We have received a few letters from players, saying that while they also use flashcarts, they have never downloaded ROMs of official iQue releases. They have also called out on the BBS to the players that they should not play pirated versions of iQue games, but the effects were minimal, and they hope iQue could overcome this struggle. I later forwarded this letter internally to my other colleagues in the development department. Some feelings are only relatable for those who have spent hard work in this industry.
Q: What is your favorite character among all the games you developed? Have you played these games yourself? Which one is your favorite?
A: My favorite character is Yoshi, this cute little dinosaur. Heh, you don't wanna look down on him. While he's low key and doesn't get into the spotlight as the Mario Brothers or the bad boy Wario, this obscure cutie always comes forth in the most perilous moment, giving Mario and co. a hand. Swallowing enemies and making eggs is his signature skill. Should his opponent underestimate his power, they will be getting a destructive attack. Yoshi went up as the main protagonist in Yoshi's Island and Yoshi Touch & Go, and took up the responsibility of rescuing Baby Mario. Among the many games I worked on,Yoshi Touch & Go is my favorite, because I love yoshi, and also because the special DS touch screen feature gave this game a new vitality. This game builds on the foundation of Yoshi's Island on GBA, combined with the DS touch screen, allowing cute little Yoshi to walk on the clouds. Attacking enemies also changed from buttons to touch and shoot, greatly increasing the fun of the game. Even better, the game made full use of the microphone feature, where players can blow the clouds away. Yoshi Touch & Go is the most unique DS game, perfectly combining action gameplay and touch screen controls. This is a very different way of controlling the game as compared to Super Mario 64 DS. If you use the touch screen to play Super Mario 64 DS…heh!
Q: How many developers does it usually take to finish a game? How is a Chinese language game born? What are the processes?
A: The number of people depends on the scale of the project. Usually, we form the most basic development team with one person from planning, program, and artwork each. Larger projects usually have something from one dozen to a few dozen personnel, aside from planning, program, and artwork, there will also be dedicated testing, and there will be one general manager (often called a producer) to control the progress and quality. The earliest work is to finish the original settings for the game. The producer will then help each member of the team to understand the development ideas and background details, then everyone does their respective work. Once a relatively complete version has been made, the game will be sent to the testers to discover and fix bugs. Of course, at the same time, the colleagues at the production, legal, marketing and many other departments will be working on scheduling, sending the game for approval, and setting up the channel. All of this work is preparing for the final launch. Each and every game you see on the market went through layers of tribulation…
Q: Could you share the hardship behind the development of a game through this forum or on the official website?
A: Thank you for your suggestion. We could have a lot to talk about on this topic. We will be launching a dedicated thread to discuss these topics in the future.
Q: As a Chinese language game developer, how did you come to work for iQue?
A: Heh, I was asked the exact same question before. Actually, I was already very interested in video games when I was at school, especially the Mario Series. Since the Mario Brothers are my buddies who accompanied me through childhood, I wholeheartedly. wanted to enter the video game industry. With my strong familiarity with the Mario Brothers, iQue was my primary choice. So I first submitted my resume, and both the written test and interview went well. I then waited for the news back home, which never came for a long time. So were those good feelings just an illusion? At that instant, I almost thought I could only pursue video games as a hobby and never as a dream job. However, life always takes new turns. Just as I was preparing to accept the facts, iQue's phone call game. Dear god! I waited for so long that I had almost lost hope. I was later told by my colleague that iQue has a low staff turnover, and I only got lucky because I had the chance to fill the spot of one who just left the company. However, he postponed his time of leave, so I had to wait for a few months. Doh! Anyways, I already feel very lucky just for my dream to become a reality.
Topic: Do you know how a game is born? Do you want to know about the toil behind development? Do you want to become a member of iQue's development team? Come join this issue's topic!！
Guest: Qian Yuzhou (钱宇周) from iQue's Game Engineering Department. Participated projects: DS games: Super Mario 64 DS, Nintendogs GBA games: Advance Wars
Q: Could you share with us some details about the Chinese version of Super Mario 64 DS and F-Zero: Maximum Velocity?
A: The new minigames and secret stars in Super Mario 64 DS are lots of fun, which you can play for an entire year if you are devoted to the game! Of course, you can use touch screens to challenge your full control on the game!
Q: Why did iQue choose to localize these two games?
A: This was the result from the discussion of multiple departments. The primary concern is to enhance the diversity of the current iQue GBA and DS library. Also, the original developers of these two games have collaborated with us prior. We are familiar with each other, and they are highly enthusiastic in recommending their games to the Chinese audience.
Q: What are the new features of the two games, compared to the Japanese and American versions?
A: There are no major differences in content. However, we did fix some flaws present in the Japanese and American releases.
Q: Will there be future releases of games and limited edition consoles sold in a bundle?
A: You might not have noticed, but we actually released a Metroid limited edition GameBoy Advance SP, based on the theme of the game Metroid: Zero Mission. Of course, this wasn't sold as a console + game bundle. Besides, iQue has released, in succession, a variety of limited edition consoles such as SP models "Chinese Dragon", "Mario 20th Anniversary" "Year of the Dog", "Nintendo Stars", as well as the GameBoy Micro "Famicom" model. As for why we didn't release them bundled with games, the reason is simple: to reduce pressure for our gamers. After all, collecting a console + game bundle like we have in foreign countries is a huge expense for the gamers in China. I would also like to disclose some information: Our marketing department is preparing another very special limited edition console. Theme and platform, you ask? That will be a secret for now~
Q: What would you like to say to us average gamers?
A: When you find a game to play and are looking for fun in the game, don't focus on whether this game is a masterpiece or if the graphical effects are fancy. The best games are those with seemingly crude graphics but bring you laughter. After all, we need games to soothe our body and mind, not to examine if the water in a game actually oscillates. Am I right? :)
Q: What are the differences between the development environment in China and in other countries?
A: Compared to the mature environments abroad, the environment in China is still in its growth stage even after a decade of development in the Chinese video game industry. Fortunately, we have you guys accompanying our growth. As for the specific differences, I don't think there's a huge difference in technology, but there are important differences in game design ideas and pioneering creative thinking. Some of these differences are so large that they can be called gaps, but we are always striving to improve.
Q: Are there more games in development after these two games?
A: Yes, there is a batch of games that have already been completed, and another batch of heavyweight titles currently in the works.
Q: Will the development progress be different depending on the game's size?
A: Game development is affected by game size to some degree, especially DS titles. Aside from the CG, the large size has a primary effect on the amount of work for text and graphics, let alone the integration of the program.
Q: How far does the development process go for the highly-expected Nintendogs?
A: Development work has already been completed. The exact time of release depends on processes like approval.
Note: Nintendogs was already approved back in 2006, but was not released until 2009 as an iQue DSi pre-installed title.
Q: Do developers from Japan collaborate work on the same software development projects with Chinese language software developers?
A: Allen discussed the same question last issue, and honestly speaking, the Japanese devs are much more experienced than the Chinese devs, since their video game industry launched 30 years before ours. There are Japanese devs collaborating in our original projects, and we learned a lot from them during these collaborations.
Q: What is your dream as a Chinese language game developer?
A: Make my own game to be a superstar title like Super Mario 64 DS, and get a raise from my boss, so I could afford ￥20 packaged meals like my colleague Allen. I can only afford ￥4 boxed lunches now (Sob…).
Q: What type of people do you think the iQue's currently developed and published software are made for?
A: Every game is designed for a different group. It still depends on the game.
Q: Among the games you developed, which is your favorite game, and who is your favorite character? Why?
A: Wario. A powerful man of strength, with a thick beard and iron will. Also with a bit of spoof, right? Heh.
Q: What is the greatest spotlight for Super Mario 64 DS in your opinion. What are the differences compared to the original?
A: The greatest spotlight should be the 36 minigames. It's well known that Nintendo's minigames will never let people down. The new elements are 30 secret stars and their respective hidden levels. Quite the deal, no? Buy 120 levels and get 30 for free!
Q: What kind of role do you think Super Mario 64 DS plays, as the first Chinese Mario game on the iQue DS?
A: He's the superstar among all the other fleeting characters, isn't he? Wait, why am I feeling a cold breeze behind my back? (The boss, questioning: Who are you calling "fleeting" games?)
Q: From the previous AMA with iQue's development team, I discovered that Allen's hobby is everything with Mario. As a member of the Super Mario 64 DS development team, do you like the Mario franchise, and how do you see it?
A: My hobby is everything from Nintendo (It appears the boss's sharp stare was super effective), but just between you and me, my favorite is still everything with Wario…
Q: You are a member of the Nintendogs development team, so could you share with us some information?
A: The development went into some great depth. We referenced textual data for various breeds of god, and went on field trips to dog farms (please, definitely pick the Shih Tzu~). I believe people will like it, since we put so much time into development.
Q: Why do you think Nintendogs was so popular and highly anticipated by the Chinese gamers?
A: In terms of the current living environment in China, it's quite costly to raise a physical dog with fur and heartbeat, and there's a limited number of parks for us to play with them. Nintendogs is a very good solution to those inconveniences with raising a real dog. Besides, while they are virtual, they are by no means any less cute.
Q: The original development team is required to participate in the localization progress. How do they review the iQue development teams?
A: I asked a Japanese engineer for this question, and here are the exact words--"A group of united and pragmatic young people, with pretty good skills making original developments. They are still growing, but already possess the ability to undertake the development of complex video games."--Although, I took this line as a Japanese way of courtesy :)
Q: What is your ideal as a Chinese language game developer?
A: Bro…surely there's no need to ask the same question twice? (It's the 20 RMB packaged meal)
Q: How do people around you see video games? Do they know about the video game industry? What do they think of video games as an industry?
A: Most of my friends do not have much understanding about the game industry, with most of them stuck in the Famicom era. However, the situation became much better in the past few years, mainly thanks to the appearance of the DS and the Wii, which surprised them (mostly the ladies) that games could actually be played in such ways. They have now started pestering me with questions. Still, they don't know about the actual situation of the video game industry, but the overall situation is getting better, as they are slowly starting to understand. As for my parents, it is already a huge merit just to be able to get a decent and stable job these days. Even though they had some prejudice against video games, it is not an obstacle for me to pursue it as a career. Of course, they are now quite proud of me, and even from time to time ask my relatives' children to play the games I worked on (parents actually care more about face)
Q: As the country provides more support to the cartoon, comic, and video game industries, will iQue be able to develop and publish games at a faster pace?
A: It is as you said. The country is providing greater support for the cartoon, comic, and video game industries. This means the efficiency of some bottleneck processes will have a hope to improve. As companies, we hope to take advantage of these boots.
Q: What type of feelings were you in when you developed those games?
A: I worked on these games imagining they all would sell a great volume.
Q: How is the Chinese edition of Super Mario 64 DS different from the Japanese and American editions? What are the original elements? The Japanese version is the remaster of the Nintendo 64 Classic Super Mario 64, so how is it different from the old version?
A: We have answered this question above.
Q: What's the greatest obstacle you faced during development?
A: The production process of a game requires cooperation from colleagues in different fields. The difference in profession, perspective, and idea may sometimes create obstacles. The most efficient way to resolve it is to have a group argument--all's well that ends well, don't you say? :)
Q: Do iQue developers also participate in Nintendo game developments?
A: This has been answered already. Some of the collaborative projects are developed together.
Q: Do Nintendo's developers participate in iQue's localization projects (not the original game projects)?
A: Every original development group will participate in all localization projects around the world, including the Chinese editions.
Q: How did you get into iQue as a Chinese language game developer? Was your experience similar to that of Allen's?
A: Now that you mention it, my experience might actually be applicable to many of our readers. I started out as a freelance writer for various major game magazines, and have gathered some experience in the mobile game industry (As is known to all, there are no platform game companies for you to learn from before iQue entered China). Since things didn't go well, I decided to leave this industry and start my own business, and give myself a holiday to relax in Xi'an. Before I left, I found out that iQue was hiring developers, so I submitted my resume just to try my luck. I didn't know that 2 days after my arrival in Xi'an, I was given a call to the interview, after which I hurried back to Suzhou. Luckily, I did not miss the interview, and of course, did not miss out on iQue. What I felt back then was that life was wonderful--there are so many beautiful girls at iQue!
Q: Is Advance Wars the Chinese version of the Japanese Game Boy Wars 1+2? Or was it the compilation of the American version? What is its difference with the original version?
A: This game originated from the American Advance Wars series. As for the new elements, you will find out when you play it. :)
Spoilers: The game was cancelled in the end. The new elements were probably referring to costume modification of some characters, or the planned online multiplayer.
Q: Will Nintendogs, the title highly-anticipated by iQue fans, come with extra Chinese breeds? When will it be released?
A: The Chinese edition of Nintendogs will be a perfect version integrating the Japanese and American versions, including almost all of the world's famous dog breeds, including the Shih Tzu breed that originated from China.
Q: What do you think of this website?
A: LevelUp? Not bad if I say so myself. I almost lurk here everyday :)
Q: Does iQue have any plans to collaborate with online game companies like Shanda Entertainment(盛大)?
A: I haven't heard about any plans like this.
Q: Among all the famous game developers, who do you respect and admire the most?
A: John D. Carmack II
Q: What games do you often play, and on which platforms?
A: I'm recently playing Wii Sports frequently to exercise my body, playing Rabbids to exercise my wretchedness, and playing Advance Wars to exercise my patience.
Q: What are your hobbies in your spare time?
A: Reading and listening to music. By the way, us there anyone here who reads books by Milan Kundera or Haruki Murakami? If not, readers of Wang Xiaobo are fine too.
Q: What do you think are the differences of TV and handheld games, as compared to online games? What are their advantages and specialties?
A: On the difference between TV and online games, allow me to quote our president, Dr. Wei Yen. I strongly agree with his opinion, and with no doubt believe that he explained it more thoroughly and to the point. Here are his words: "A non-social online game is played in an unfamiliar and unreal world, and [players] interact in an unfamiliar environment, with unacquainted people, using fictitious identities. I have my own reservations whether frequently playing such games leads to the disconnection between individuals and society. The real society is important not because it's the reality, but because it's the fact. Socialization is important: It helps one to understand oneself. One can understand one's taste, one's confidence, and one's development through socialization and constructive feedback given by acquainted people in a familiar environment. If you grew up without ever experiencing such feedback, you may not be able to cope with extreme issues in a joyful, open minded way." I don't know if people agree with him. By the way, this is just a snippet from his article, which is right here for those who are interested:http://www.ique.com/ique_01.htm.
Q: Many video game fans are developing various kinds of console emulators, like the ones for the DS. What do iQue think of such acts? There are also many websites that offer ROM downloads. How does iQue see these acts, and what actions will they take?
A: Video games are a form of entertainment, and people play games to relax and enjoy. Game developers around the world worked with all their efforts precisely to achieve this effect for their players and users. From the developer's perspective, emulators cannot provide a full gaming experience for the user, which will damage the image of games or even that of the entire video game industry in the minds of the users. I have always wanted to say this to the emulator developers: If they are really interested in platforms, why not make their own? Or even further, why don't they get a job in a major game company and make it a legal profession? As for ROM downloads, from a larger scale, they are intellectual property issues; from personal feelings, I find it impossible to accept the hard work I participated in being treated in a way so…and from a more practical view, the major foreign companies we've trying hard to reach out, think of piracy and cracking as the first things when they think of China, after which they intend to back down… What I want to say is, it is unimaginable for the gamers how difficult it is to release a game in China, or iQue wouldn't have been the only one in China for so many years.
Q: Many Japanese publishers release new "Best Price" or "Player's Choice" packages for their early games. Will iQue use similar plans in the future?
A: You can ask our colleagues in the Marketing Department next time.
Note: As of 2021, no Nintendo game released in China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan was given a Nintendo Select treatment.
Q: Could you talk a little bit about yourself? Say, like which process of software development are you in charge of?
A: I'm in charge of messing around plus ordering food deliveries :)
Q: What kind of companies are Nintendo and iQue in your opinion?
A: They are the ones that aim high and have great foresight. They are also both famous for their strong will (perseverance).。
Q: Why did you decide on working as a Chinese language software engineer? How do people around you see this occupation?
A: I have had persistence in gaming since childhood, not willing to give up the coin for the arcade even when my dad dragged me by the ear. As game development turns from a dream into a feasible direction, I've wholeheartedly fumbled along the path of Chinese language game development. My parents and friends are more accepting of this occupation than before, since the overall environment has been getting better by the day under everyone's collective efforts, and prejudice from traditional views are also slowly disappearing.
Q: What is your favorite game?
A: Probably still Nintendogs. It's a very interesting game. I decided to walk the dog on the DS since I couldn't afford a real one. I could walk my dog at work and it doesn't crap all over the place. Nice!
Q: What's the first game you ever played? On which platform? How did you feel? Which game left you with the deepest impressions?
A: My first game was Kung Fu on the Famicom, which is a rather crude game from today's perspective. I am currently revisiting Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel on PC. The views of the post-apocalyptic fallout are very attractive.。
Q: What kind of games are good games in your opinion?
A: The ones that make people relax, such as the minigames in Super Mario 64 DS. I'm recently quite fond of minigames.
Q: Due to the shortage of supply for integrated circuit chips and PCB circuit boards, Nintendo has postponed the plan to increase the production of Wii consoles in July, and the console may face a shortage of supplies worldwide.Will this affect the launch plans of the iQue Wii?
A: I am only in charge of making games, so I could not answer this question. Sorry…
Q: Could we get an approximate time whether the Wii would release in this year?
A: The key is the regularization of the industry, which includes the government's approach towards the game industry, the optimization of game approval, protection of intellectual property rights, and the company's own efficiency. Our current bottlenecks are in the first few aspects, but we believe things will become better.
Q: Will the Wii come with launch software when it releases?
A: Of course, but don't bother asking which ones. The superiors have demanded no disclosure. Also, please leave questions unrelated to game development to other guests :)
Q: The current pace of authorized game release is slow. What are the possible solutions to this issue?
A: This is out of my scope of expertise, but I think the slow pace of release is primarily related to piracy, and secondarily related to the government's approach towards the videogame industry. As for the possible solutions…heh, the U.S. Department of Commerce would have already hired me as CEO if I could solve this issue.
Q: The Computer City in Teemall in Guangzhou is selling bootleg GBA cartridges, PSP consoles, and other MP3 players. When I bought a iQue console there, they only gave me the receipt but not the invoice…
A: I don't think it's useful directing this question to me, but I recall some of my colleagues answered similar questions, so I will be reposting their answer--from our understanding, there are quite a number of malls in China that sells bootlegs and imports alongside authorized products, and this is not unique to video game products. As relevant laws in China become complete and enforced in greater strength, we expect the market to become more regularized, and hope such bizarreness will disappear soon. To protect your consumer rights to the greatest extent, please purchase authorized products from the listed dealers on our official websites.
Q: I hope iQue could try to promote Wi-Fi services among McDonalds and KFCs in CHina's major cities. Like the Nintendo Zone
A: The application of Wi-Fi communication requires approval from the government. We are working on that and we thank you for your suggestion!
Note: The iQue DS (Lite) supports Nintendo WFC when used with an import software but was never advertised or mentioned in the manual to have Wi-Fi capabilities, possibly to reduce the trouble during hardware approval. No Nintendo-Zone equivalent services have been offered in China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan.
Q: What are the chances of Chinese releases of Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker and Final Fantasy III? I personally think it's near Zero as Square Enix would almost never agree to collaborate. Of course, I strongly wish I were wrong.
A: We have discussed this question in prior sections, and it's true that most major foreign third parties are in more of an observing state when it comes to the Chinese market. This is just the true situation of China. What we could do is to prove to the world the potential of the Chinese market with our own actions, to prove that China is not a country full of thieves. Every genuine copy a gamer buys will become a bargaining chip for us to localize those masterpieces.
Q: What does iQue exist for? Does iQue profit from selling iQue consoles while enlarging the Chinese game market, or does iQue earn profits from boosting hardware sales from software? Only after we know the general direction will we know if we should continue to support iQue as we always did. (Maybe this question touches on issues of privacy?! In that case please ignore this question.)
A: Well…I'm just a developer, so how should I put it? According to the words of Dr. Wei Yen, "iQue is to become the pioneer into the barren of the Chinese market." Profit isn't really the current concern of the company–which should be evident from the fact that iQue is still persisting on making games in China. Should iQue only enter the Chinese market for short-term profits, it would have quickly retreated. China is a country with peculiar situations, and a lot of efforts must be done to smooth out the arteries and veins of the entire industry, up to the government and down to the third parties. We will persist until the day the industry enters a virtuous cycle, and we hope the players do so too.
Q: Why are some iQue limited edition consoles not shown on the official website at all, but sporadically exist in the market? What exactly is the case with these consoles? Do we need pure luck to buy one?
A: All official limited edition consoles will be announced on the official website. Please be cautious when you see any console not listed on the official website.
Q: Does iQue still lack people…
A: Doh…don't you ever know to look up on our jobs and recruit information on our official website? PS. This is how I entered iQue, haha. Finally, thank you for your suggestion. As for the difficulty in buying games, we have online purchasing channels from our collaborators (such as China Merchants Bank Credit Card Club), as well as the recent summer promotion from 3C LIFE website of discounted group buy for new iQue games and consoles. (http://home.3clife.com/hd/tuangou/ique/) You may choose your favorite method of purchase.。
Q: When will iQuedogs be scheduled for a release? Will you be pressured by the fact that this game already has a fan translation?
A: Oh, does the kind of game you mentioned get approved by the government?...Our collaborative work with the original development team guaranteed the birth of the most perfect Chinese language Nintendogs. As for the process of government approval, that's something beyond my ability to help.
Q: The current iQue DS games can only play on iQue DS consoles. My DS Lite is American (because there were no iQue DS Lites back then) so naturally I couldn't run your games. I strongly hope that iQue could put users like us into consideration!
A: The authorized Chinese games are dedicated to users of authorized Chinese consoles, and they are sold at half the price of developed countries, and they will be even cheaper in the future. If users of import consoles could also enjoy dedicated features and services of authorized consoles, wouldn't that be unfair to those who bought legal authorized consoles? Here's a snippet of information: There will be more of those differences once iQue the internet services in China. ~I will not delve into the details since this question is irrelevant to game development itself.
Q: Will the Chinese release of Nintendogs be able to communicate with other versions of the game? Which version is the localization based on? Will iQue also release the two new editions in the West? (Nintendogs: Best Friends and Nintendogs: Dalmatian & Friends)
A: Definitely, they can communicate without issues. The new breeds in the two editions you mentioned are all present in the authorized China release.
Q: Will you guys be releasing the Olympics Official Video games by Sega for the 2008 Olympics?
A: We are currently working on it, although it is quite an ordeal. As for the reason, you could see it from the replies above.
Note: This was a very important project of iQue. It was almost ready but it did not succeed in the end.
Q: Does iQue have plans to release third party games for the DS?？
A: I have answered this question already. We have released third party games like Sin and Punishment, but most third party companies have relatively little interest in the Chinese market, primarily due to piracy.
Q: I read your introduction and you were on the Nintendogs project. So I'd like to ask, is this game still not ready for purchase for so long because of the current game approval system in China? What's your opinion on China's game approval system? Has it largely restricted the path of iQue earning revenue for releasing Chinese language software in China?
A: I have answered this question already. The development process went rather well, but the later steps…are out of a game company's control, and we're praying on a daily basis :) We are not in a position to easily judge the work of state officials, but we believe it's heading in a good direction.
Q: For a game developer, the tremendous work of arduously localization or development are unimaginable, and the most intuitive way of judging a game's quality is its sales. What is a reasonable number for the number of authorized software sales in China in your opinion?
A: Please save this question for later and leave them to the guests from the marketing department :)
Q: The first issue of "iQue Game Ranking" has been released. Would you please share with us the detailed sales data of the top 3 games on the list?
A: I don't know about that. Compared to the sales data overseas, the sales of genuine games in China are pitiful in comparison, so let's not look at that for now, shall we? :)
Q: If you had a chance to work at Nintendo's Japan HQ, would you go or stay? Please tell us the reason when you give the answer.
A: We have regular exchanges of professionals, and we have a few permanent Nintendo staff in China working alongside us. Of course, I would definitely go if I had the chance to study for some time at Nintendo. These experiences would provide valuable help for perfecting our original games.
Q: I feel like a lot of the iQue names are quite bizarre compared to many popular names, such as Mario (马里奥) is called "马力欧" in the iQue localization. I wonder if iQue would name their games more in line with the popular terms?
A: Habitual does not mean correct, just as Super Mario was once popularly referred to as "Super Mary" (超级玛莉). Hard to imagine a plumber with a big mustache named "Mary", right? We have discussed issues such as naming prior, which is related to the game's initial settings. The detailed information can be read here: http://home.3clife.com/hd/tuangou/ique/talk.html :)
Q: Will the iQue DS Lite come with Wi-Fi features? I would like to play together with more players.
A: You can play via Wi-Fi right now. However, we are still preparing dedicated online services for the Chinese audience. This will be a big surprise~
Q: Will the iQue Wii come with paid download services after its release?
A: Please save this question for our future guests from the Marketing Department :)
Q: Will iQue expand its product publicity through advertising (such as websites or collaboration with drink companies)?
A: We have released a collaboration limited edition DS with Pepsi before~ BTW, aren't you guys at LevelUp having a good time chatting with us? I personally think the best form of advertising is direct communication between players and the company. :)
Q: I want to support genuine releases, but they are so expensive, and I couldn't afford them as a student. I hope iQue could release "Budget Edition" genuine game cartridges for us.
A: Uh… what exactly do you mean by a "Budget Edition"? Something similar to the recent "Affordable Housing", perhaps? :)
Q: When I was visiting the iQue retailer in Ningbo, I found some games like Pokémon and Castlevania, aside from the games listed on the official website? Are these games genuine copies?
A: We have not released official Chinese editions of these games, so please be careful…
Q: Will you guys translate New Super Mario Bros.?
A: I would first like to remind you that Mr. Miyamoto thinks this big-mustached plumber should be named "马力欧" in Chinese, so please respect the creator's opinion~ The Chinese edition of New Super Mario Bros. is almost near finish. Please stay tuned for the release!
Spoilers: The game was not released until 2009.
Topic: How can the Chinese video game industry get on track?
Guests: Samson from iQue's Marketing Department, Richard from iQue's Sales Department
Records of the Guest Lounge, 5th issue:
Q: It is said that a video game store can become an iQue franchise store after it stocks a particular amount of iQue products. Is this true?
A: There are many factors to consider whether a store could become an iQue franchise store, a very important one being the capability to offer after-sales service. The sales records are of consideration, but not the most important factor.
Q: Currently, flashcarts are rampant, and the audience for iQue's genuine DS and GBA genuine software has become the small group of China authorized release collectors, instead of the general gaming population. How do you see this situation? Will this blow your confidence to continue to release games?
A: In the past two issues, a gamer posted a partial list of iQue games pending approval, so I think iQue's faith and sincerity to continue on releasing games should be clear to every discerning individual. Piracy is a nation-wide phenomenon, and it's not just in the TV game industry. I believe everyone saw what happened to the recent release of the last episode of Harry Potter some time ago. Honestly speaking, many of my colleagues, including myself, have lost heart previously, especially those in the development department, where the hard work of many only ended up so…However, Dr. Yen later talked to us: "If we do business in Japan, we must not be afraid of earthquakes. If we do business in South East Asia, we must not fear tsunamis." I believe this tenacity is what kept iQue going in China.
Q: Does iQue set a fixed price for games and the Play-yan for its retailers? I asked in a video game store once about iQue DS games, for instance, and they told me that iQue has kept an eye on them, telling them that they must sell the game at ￥288, and not a cent less, or iQue will stop stocking them. I sincerely hope that iQue could allow flexible pricing and make their products more affordable to us gamers.
A: We have been constantly explaining to the gamers why we couldn't keep a nationwide MSRP in the past, and now we get an exact opposite question, sigh…The products we ship to the retailers are shipped at a uniform price, and we leave the pricing open to the stores themselves. The retailers would set their retail price according to their own situations and regional differences. I recommend comparing across multiple stores before making a purchase.
Q: Does iQue always turn a bline eye to its retailers selling the iQue DS Lite and R4 flashcarts at the same time?
A: Do you turn a blind eye to boxed lunches sold at 20 RMB? Jk, but the scope of permitted products for a retailer is only under the jurisdiction of the Ministries of Industry and Commerce, iQue does not need to, and cannot worry about these problems.
Q: Could iQue host on its official website a list for the most anticipated game localization? So that iQue's localization plans can come with a clearer goal.
A: Please refer to our answers on this topic a few issues ago. Still, thank you very much for the suggestion :)
Q: Since I live in the Suzhou Industrial Park, I have visited your company twice to register my Multiplayer Console and Controller. I talked to a gal from iQue and she said that even if iQue released the Wii, the company would not release any Chinese games, and would only at most offer a Chinese menu, because piracy is rampant. Is that the case? (Please do not make her take responsibility for her words, thank you). I just wanted to ask a few questions in issue 5 as a fan of iQue.
A: It looks like you've become quite acquainted with our front desk girl that she made such a big joke for you.:) First of all, iQue will definitely release the Wii, and will definitely release Chinese games for it. We will also provide interfaces and systems familiar to the Chinese players. The approximate dates and other details will be disclosed in future issues of the Guest Lounge.
Q: What kind of department is the Marketing Department? Is it in charge of the sales?
A: Let me make a brief introduction, and you could reference some marketing books if you're interested in further details. The Marketing Department is one that coordinates the resources across many departments and develops and promotes products and services for the consumers based on their demands. The company's product strategies and promotion plans all came from the Marketing Department.
Q: How do you guys see flashcarts?
A: How does an owner of lost property see thieves?
Q: Will you release 2008 Olympics-themed limited edition consoles and games next year?
A: In accordance with international practices, releasing Olympic-themed products is heavily controlled by the International Olympic Committee. Nintendo has announced Olympic-themed game products overseas, and iQue will also take advantage of the trend, and strive to provide a gourmet feast for the video game fans in China on the coming of the Olympic year. Please check our website for any detailed information in the future.
Q: Could you release the exact monthly sales date for the consoles?
A: There are usually two types of sales data: Shipments and retails. Shipments represent the expected sales from retailers, and retails represent the actual purchases made. Some companies choose to make shipments as their sales count, which boosts the confidence of investors but does not represent market recognition. Therefore, we are more inclined to choose the retail data, which better reflects the actual sales but are hard to collect. The common practice overseas is to cite data sources from authoritative third party organizations, which has yet to exist in China. We will consider releasing our data once the conditions are ready.
Q: Was market research carried out for the release of a new game?
A: We need to release products from the demand of consumers, so how could we know that without resorting to research? Of course, there are many factors to the release of a game, and the research results are one of them.
Q: How would you guys solve the issues of gamers having difficulty buying genuine games? (Wait, we're wrongly taking responsibility for that?)
A: The game industry is a chain, with iQue being one of its links. We want to release more games just as much as you do, but without good sales records for genuine copies, the other links on the chain won't be active. If everyone bought genuine copies for each game we released, I think genuine games would soon become abundant and cheap (No harm making some joke, right?~)
Q: What's your personal opinion on our domestic market?
A: China has a huge potential for business opportunities, from the fast development of the economy and the improvement of living standards. Of course, these are only of the macroscopic scale. In terms of just the video game industry, it's still bounded by factors related to national conditions. Otherwise, other companies wouldn't be still on the fence.
Q: The pace of iQue game release is slow. Does it have to do with the sales of genuine copies
A: This is an issue of if the chicken or the egg comes first, but I think iQue has already built up a quite sizable library (we have already released 26 games), which you guys could compare with other game companies in China.
Q: Are the multiplayer cables, styluses, and screen protectors sold at authorized retailers all authorized products?
A: No. iQue has only released accessories for the iQue Player platform.。
Q: Nintendo recently announced that they will stop the production of the Navy Blue DS Lite. Does this mean iQue would also stop releasing Navy Blue consoles?
A: No. Nintendo made the decision in consideration of the overseas market, while iQue's market is in China. Also, I would like to correct you that the official name of the color is "Enamel Blue(珐琅青)" :)
Q: The Wii is currently short on supply worldwide, so will this affect the iQue Wii's release plans? In which cities will the Wii debut in? What will be its launch software? Will iQue also release accessories after the release of the Wii, like Wii Fit?
A: We will discuss these topics in future issues of the Guest Lounge.
Q: Will the iQue edition of Nintendogs be released in separate versions?
A: We will decide on that after making full consideration of the game's development ideas and consumer affordability. However, we can guarantee that the official Chinese edition would be the edition with the most complete dog breeds :)
Q: Will there be original games for the Wii platform?
A: There is already a project under development, a new type of game currently not seen among the Wii titles.
Q: Will iQue continue to participate in game conventions like ChinaJoy?
A: Conventions are only a mere form of publicity for a company. Whether or not to participate at conventions, or participation at which conventions, is based on the company's marketing strategy.
Q: If we become a third party game developer for iQue, what will the premium be? How are development tools provided? Are there any discounts for domestic companies? Will the censorship department provide better processes for games on domestic platforms? What about developing games for iQue as an individual?
A: The normal process is to send the letter of development intent to us from the developer, which must be one with a legal personality. We will then continue further discussions with companies with experiences in development. You could send us your detailed information to marketing@iQue.com, which will then be handled by our specialist. Also, according to national regulations, the approval process of domestically developed software will be less difficult than that of imported software.
Q: Does iQue have plans to open iQue-themed stores and gradually perfect the sales channels?
A: It's not my specialty to build distribution channels. If there's an opportunity in the future, I would be glad to help LevelUp to invite my colleagues from the Sales Department for coffee.。
Q: Currently, there are a few development teams online with their original software. Will iQue purchase their copyright to release official games?
A: This is also what we've always been talking about. Some teams in China have certain levels of development skills on some platforms, but they have no experience in formal commercial development. In China, some things and changes must take place by making a new path. Of course, there are quality requirements for commercialized games, and we highly welcome skilled teams to cooperate.
Q: Could iQue offer pre-order services for genuine copies?
A: Didn't we have that for Super Mario 64 DS and F-Zero: Maximum Velocity? :)
Q: I heard from Qian Yuzhou [from the last issue] that you guys at the Marketing Department are currently preparing a very special limited edition console? Could you share some details? Is it related to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games? Is it for the Wii platform?
A: Heh, we hope to show this to everyone at the 100 days countdown to the Olympics Games.
Q: The developers at iQue disclosed some details about games. Does this mean these games would soon be released?
A: In China, games, as well as all audiovisual products, have separate production and release processes. A production company has no publishing rights. That is to say, games that are under development, or even finished, do not mean they will get released soon, because there's still a long process of approval to go through.
Q: Are members of fan translation groups qualified to become Chinese engineers with you guys at iQue?
A: Heck yes. We welcome them to join us at iQue.。
Q: If iQue develops well, will it expand its businesses to Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan regions?
A: That question is beyond my level, but currently we are only doing business in Mainland China.
Q:If iQue is soon to release the iQue Wii, could you guys provide an approximate price? Will the Wii come with paid download services in China?
A:We will discuss these questions in future issues of the Guest Lounge.
Q: I hope the prices of iQue games could lower further by a little. The current prices are still too high for me to afford (almost at my entire monthly allowance)。
A: Please, avoid playing games on an empty stomach at all costs, especially considering instant noodles are so expensive now…
Q: iQue is still on a "stay tuned" status for the Wi-Fi features in China for the iQue DS (Lite). Could we get an approximate time for how long we need to wait?
A: The application of Wi-Fi functionalities needs approval from the government. We are working on that.
Q: I happened to discover the username "暗之天皇 (Dark Emperor)" frequently appearing in the replies of the Guest Lounge since the second issue, so I checked the upvotes, and again saw frequent occurrences of the names "暗之审判者 (Dark Judge)" and "血翼飞龙二世 (Bloodwing Wyvern II)"...
A: I'm only here to answer questions from gamers, just like the other guests, so it's only meaningful to communicate directly. It is natural for us to prioritize high-quality questions. You might be a bit too alert out there~
Q: As a member of iQue's Marketing Department, could you briefly introduce the everyday work of the Marketing Department? Is everyday more or less the same or are there new challenges every day? Is the Marketing Department mainly in charge of the planning of promotional events or solving sales related-issues from retailers?
A: I have briefly introduced the work of the Marketing Department above. As for introducing the details of everyday work, I feel like it's probably gonna be like retelling a list.
Q: Will iQue's Marketing Department be recruiting this year? If yes, what types of talent does it favor? When will recruitments start?
A: All of the information is available on the jobs section on our official website…
Q: Does iQue's Marketing Department have regular contacts with Nintendo personnel from Japan or the United States? If yes, were there more contacts with NCL or NOA? Thanks.
A: We have contrast with both. Each organization of iQue needs to keep contact with Nintendo's subsidiaries worldwide to some degree more or less due to work requirements. As for the Marketing Department, we generally contact them to discuss marketing strategies, and they have provided us much experience in marketing operations overseas.
Q: When will the official release of the Wii be? Will the price be within the range of 1600~1800 RMB? Will Chinese Wii games be released at a very fast pace? Is the slow pace of iQue DS official Chinese game releases related to state approval procedures? Will Wii consoles in China come with online updates? In terms of piracy, will the Chinese Wiis prevent that with paid online downloads? Thank you for your answer.
A: We will answer these questions in future issues of the Guest Lounge.
Q: What's your take on the argument that "the sales of the iQue DS Lite were bolstered by flashcarts"?
A: It is a regular pattern of the video game industry that software sells hardware. But…flashcarts don't really count as software, do they?
Q: Will iQue introduce the "Touch Generations" series into China? Will iQue advertise its products via TV media?
A: We will use localized promotions fit for the Chinese market.
Q: Following the previous question, will iQue expand into the middle-aged and elderly audience of China and develop localized software for it?
A: You're referring to "Big Brain Academy", right? The game is commonly nicknamed as Melatonin (脑白金) in China, and its official name is 活力脑学校 (Vitality Brain School). The development goal for this type of software is to provide games for easy access and fun without age barriers, and not necessarily dedicated to the middle-aged and the elderly. It's just that when a game is accepted by those people, it becomes a social phenomenon and catches the media's attention. I hope Big Brain Academy could also start a trend of brain training after its release in China.
Spoilers: The game was never released in Chinese until the Switch release worldwide.
Q: Continuing from the last question: If iQue were to take actions 2 and 3, do you have faith in improving the consumption awareness levels of Chinese consumers?
A: Consumption awareness is rooted in culture and ideology, so it cannot change overnight. Take the example of the deep-rooted mindset of Chinese parents that "excessive attention to plaything saps one's will". To make changes happen, we need continuous education and guidance. Fortunately, iQue's gaining an increase in the channel for children, and parents consider iQue games to be healthy and safe.。
Q: Will iQue extend the product warranty periods as the market expands?
A: Our product warranty periods are all provided according to national regulations, which should be independent of market size…
Q: iQue's distribution network seems to be not well constructed in the west (such as my city Nanning only has one iQue authorized retailer). What's your opinion on this situation?
A: I've mentioned this before. We will invite our colleagues from the sales department to the guest launch when available :)
Q: It seems that the clock batteries of iQue Player launch sets have all quickly gone dry.。
A: We've already answered this question in issue 2. Dried internal batteries of the iQue Players could be exchanged at authorized repair centers for free. Please consult our customer service center for details.
Q: iQue's marketing is never satisfactory. iQue should be stricter and spend more effort on recruiting and training marketing personnel. How will iQue change its recruitment standards for marketing personnel, and how will it train them?
A: iQue's marketing and training is quite strict and detailed, and the precise recruitment requirements could be consulted on our official website, but the details of training would have to be a secret. As for the marketing from iQue that was never satisfactory, please provide us with some specific cases for reference so we could improve, thank you.
Q: iQue has many authorized retailers in multiple cities, but a few of them are dishonest. They sometimes decorate recycled old products and sell them to consumers as new, or sometimes the set is "missing something" (one missing case or sheet could also show a merchant's quality). Sometimes, they even have the guts to sell tampered defective products, and some are apathetic towards after sales repair services.
A: The cases you describe do exist, but I hope everyone could contact iQue customer service to complain as soon as possible. Please be sure that we will surely take care of those, especially cases where refurbished iQue consoles are sold to cheat consumers.
Q: I wanted to buy a DS Lite recently, and some merchants on the market gave offers even below that of 900 RMB. Are these iQue consoles?
A: Historical experiences tell us that you get what you paid for. Be cautious of refurbished consoles.
Records of the Guest Lounge, 6th issue:
We discovered some spotlight from the discussions in the previous week, with the focus on how to deal with piracy and enhance the value of genuine products.
Q: For gamers, even without piracy and hundreds of annual releases, they still have limited purchasing power and energy, and could only select a small portion of the library. Therefore, an innovative marketing mode is of greatest importance. For instance, downloading games via the iQue Depot was an innovative attempt, and other companies have succeeded via online value-addition services under the same type of idea. So why don't iQue, the pioneer of this mode, continue to further expand down this path?
A: The iQue Player was the first and only console worldwide to be based entirely on an internet architecture. Attempts to connect consoles to the internet were made on various platforms at the time, but large-scale commercialization did not happen until the current generation of Wii and other consoles. This has become the trend of the global video game industry, and iQue, the first founder of such infrastructures, has not stopped work in this field. We believe that we will provide gamers with a surprise in the near future.
Q: The lack of genuine games is the reason flashcarts become prevalent. Also, the work of fan translation groups provided a batch of Chinese games and fulfilled the needs of gamers.。
First of all, we could not agree with your first opinion, just like we cannot say the wide use of mobile phones gave rise to the prevalence of thieves. As for the second question, on how we see fan translation groups help the Chinese game industry go on track, I think there are both good and bad effects.
Firstly, every original creator of a game could not accept the act of editing their work without permission. The work of fan translators leave publishers with an image that China's video game industry has no order, and intellectual properties could not be protected. This is the negative effect;
Secondly, some skilled fan translators started to realize that partaking in works not admitted by officials is not good for personal development, so they chose to join iQue for authorized development work. They soar in value after receiving normative training, and become the first batch of practitioners with the ability to develop original console games. This is the positive effect.
Q: Due to historical reasons in China and the lack of intellectual property awareness among people, genuine products often face severe challenges. This is not exclusive to the video game industry, so many companies of genuine products often offer promotion events to attract gamers to choose genuine games. Also, what are the countermeasures against websites offering official game downloads?
A: We have the exact idea as you do. Our genuine games come with product certifications, which could be redeemed to points for official rewards, which pirated games do not provide at all, and we will continue to offer such services. Naturally, the better the sales, the better the feedback for our supporters, and we thank you for your support. As for the ROM downloads offered by some websites as you mentioned, first this is an illegal act, and is especially bad under the global background of intellectual property protection, and the government has recently done work in this field. These websites will be responsible for their actions, and we would like to call on the gamers to not download any illegal content. Doing so not only condones such acts, but is also an illegal act in itself.
Q: The most important strategy for China's video game industry to go on track is for Chinese developers to release large amounts of games with independent intellectual properties. This will not only lower the criteria for game approval, but can also provide dedicated services fit for the domestic environment.
A: Heck yes I agree. In the past issues, we've been talking about hopes to receive contact from skilled development teams. If you know such talented people, please recommend them to us. As for the case where someone bought a genuine PC game but could not play or refund, that was an interesting story, but it never happened in iQue, and it will never ever happen. Otherwise, what's the point in authorized products? Thank you for your suggestion!
Records of the Guest Lounge, 7th issue:
In the discussions of the previous week, the focus was on topics of "citizens' decency" and "purchasing power" as the greatest obstacles for China's video game industry to go on track. We have received quite a number of excellent insights into the matter.
Q: For China's video game industry to go on track…first we must increase the salary of the people…so that genuine products could become better in quality and deal than bootlegs?
A: The purchasing power issue exists in every country, but is especially severe in China. I personally think video games are the seasonings of life, which everyone could choose to buy or not. However, housing, education, and medical care are life necessities, and the limit of purchasing power would severely impact the quality of life, or even survival. Of course, every game company hopes everyone's purchasing power will become greater, and when the demands of genuine games increase, the individual costs would drop, as this is an economic rule. As for genuine games becoming a better offer than bootlegs, I don't think the two are comparable in the first place. We couldn't take a stolen phone to the store and say "your phones are too expensive, and should be offered for free", can we?
Q: Go on track? We should increase the citizens' decency first..and the protection of independent intellectual property rights…
A: We noticed that while piracy happens soon after each of our releases, but many gamers have started to advocate against downloading ROMs of those games. We always have sincere gratitude to those gamers, and after contact with a few of them, we found that some are also in game or non-game development work themselves. I think this was the source of that mutual understanding.
Q: If I bought a genuine copy of an iQue Chinese masterpiece, I could tell people with pride that "I bought the genuine iQue Chinese version of the DS masterpiece X!" (laugh) But if I were to buy a small-scaled genuine game by iQue, people would ask "Is it worth it to buy a small-scaled game for a few hundred bucks?"
A: Our game lineup has a large number of world-class masterpieces like The Legend of Zelda, Animal Crossing, Super Mario 64 DS, and Metroid, and we will continue to release classics like Nintendogs. As for your question on whether buying a small-scaled game for a few hundred bucks is worth it, I think it is the difference in consumer values. In foreign countries, the pricing of different games are similar, because the target consumers of the games each have their own different needs, and one man's masterpiece may not be another man's must-play. Every video game product contains values given by the creator and is worth respect.
Q: Of course we need to improve the idea of intellectual property awareness, which, to be frank, is the increase of citizen decency. Sadly, a lot of Chinese citizens lack that awareness, thinking that a lot of stuff can be received for free, technical personnel are enough, and it doesn't matter to them if the creative industry exists or not.
A: I strongly agree. I have tried to think to myself why there are particularly severe clashes in the aspect of intellectual property. The final conclusion was that China's process of connecting to the world has greatly sped up. In simpler terms, we could play game masterpieces and import great movies thanks to our country opening up, but the people's values towards those creative products were lagging behind the international environment, and that's where the conflict lies. I believe that the country's globalization process would mean that the public opinion will also slowly be on par with that of the world, especially people like you, gamers who are already thinking about such topics. Perhaps one day you will become a fresh member of the domestic creative industry, because you realized the value of creativity before others.
Q: The country's policies should be more lenient, and should establish a reasonable game rating and approval system.
A: You've just said what we've always wanted to say. It's so important for a game company to have a game rating system with clear standards. I think you're quite sophisticated to put this as your primary suggestion: this shows that you have seen through beneath the surface. Many of your other suggestions are also important and we will take careful consideration of those. Thank you!
Q: It's not like iQue is truly innocent themselves. Even ignoring earlier offenses, just on the topic of the Wii, first said to release in January of 2007, which ended up without any information, then it got delayed to March, then May…
A: We have never announced any information regarding the iQue Wii. Our principle is to release information ASAP on our official website once we have received certain information. Please do not fall for rumors from unofficial channels as this would cause us to take responsibility for what we did not do.
Q: What kind of prices are cheap to the consumer?？
A: Every consumer, myself included, thinks that free stuff is the best, or houses that cost only 1000 bucks. However, that is impossible. What we should be discussing are the reasonable prices, with reasonable cost, value, and pricing, or it would only be idealized blatter.
Q: Consumers' doubt towards this game
A: Your opinion is that "people choose to download ROMs because they have doubt in the games' quality". Please reconsider that opinion of yours.
Q: Consumers' rebelliousness
A: You said that "some people think buying bootlegs are more ‘cool' than buying genuine games. This is an absurd idea, but they actually exist". I admit that these people exist, but they are definitely not mainstream, and are "absurd" just as you said.。
Q: I found out that some iQue authorized retailers fix anything from imports to authorized models as long as money is paid, and they even offer modding services. I also found that the iQue flagship store on Taobao is selling Japanese Wii consoles (modded). Are these actions condoned by iQue? Are they covered by warranty?
A: Our authorized products repairs are offered all by our authorized repair centers around the country. Please contact our customer center (TEL: 0512-62883599) first with any issues after purchasing authorized products, so as to avoid fraud from dishonest merchants. Also, we have never set up any so-called "iQue flagship store" on the internet, so please be discerning when you make purchasing choices.
Q: Currently, game news and releases are published via the media of game magazines. Therefore, could iQue regularly publish preview artworks and screenshots of officially localized games in preparation of release, so as to attract gamers?
A: Good suggestions. I think we should really do this.
Q: I. Try to occupy Mainland China's console market. II. When doing the previous part, try not to crack down on online downloads, fan work, and fan translations. III. Under the previous two premises, continue doing the first step to further strengthen its core user base.
A: Your post is a bit too long to fully present, but it seems that you're thinking about these questions with heart. I'm really touched:) As for the counter occupancy of imports VS. authorized consoles, that was an issue when iQue first entered China, because authorized consoles only just started to appear. Now, authorized consoles should have become mainstream, and the situation you see in some stores only means that these stores are unwilling to do business with authorized products. This is quite normal, as peddlers who need to hide at the sight of urban/commerce management authorities naturally sell different products compared to merchants holding legal licences. As for the fan translators…we always have hope for the competent to try original development or join iQue, and it's nonsense to say we cracked them down. Lastly, about the core user base, I think only those who buy authorized products and actively boycott ROM downloads could qualify as core users.
Q: I observed a very bizarre phenomena: Why are most people trying to build Rome in a single day? First, iQue needs to release good games so everyone has the desire to collect and play. Second, strengthen copyright awareness, which is already on the rise. This is pretty obvious in undergraduate higher education, as we slowly gained perception on the matter as people in relevant majors. When these generations become mainstream of the society, then the video game industry will have a solid foundation of going on track.
A: The bizarre phenomena you mentioned is not actually bizarre. Human beings are creatures of desire, but the wise know how to balance between dream and reality, draw up a practical plan, and take it step by step. Of course, this won't be an easy task, or why would iQue be the only one in China? The two suggestions you brought up are very targeted: Good games are the foundations, and strengthening copyright awareness should start from the mainstream and young generation. Are you willing to do this together with us?
We did not expect the discussion on genuine and piracy spread to other forums, but I think it's a good thing. Under the current environment in China, we did not have too many of those discussions, but rather truly too few. It is not the fault of us gamers that the video game environment is vile, and we should definitely not be the ones to bear this responsibility. iQue has always believed that us gamers are of high decency and awareness, especially those actively participating in this discussion, whose thoughts are far more sophisticated compared to the average Chinese consumer. I would like to use the Guest Lounge to express a few opinions from iQue, if they could be agreed on by our fellow gamers:
First, gamers are not "thieves". In more precise terms, piracy is an action of production, management, or distribution of unlicensed and illegally cloned copyright work (in just the scope of video games). Obviously, most of us gamers did not partake in these jobs, so we should be quite distant from the "thieves" I referred to.
Second, we can't say the Chinese gamers have lower decency than foreigners just because we pirated. The reason for piracy was for its low price (basically free), which is irrelevant of citizen decency. Both Chinese and foreigners, when choosing among almost identical products, would choose the ones with cheaper prices. This is the nature of mankind. I have known Americans who pirated, Japanese who pirated, and Singaporeans who pirated…Furthermore, the source of crack and piracy all appears to come from those developed countries and regions. I think that if we had put our legal environment in those developed countries and regions, they might have had even poorer sales of genuine software than we currently do.
Third, piracy does not harm only iQue, but also every gamer, especially those with a true love for games. The spread of piracy meant that many gamers could not experience the games, and left us with a very limited understanding of video games. More people downloaded games in bulk, but less are spending time savoring and exploring the fun of video games. There are also a lot of cases where the spread of piracy have caused many excellent game companies to go bankrupt. I believe many gamers with love for video games are not willing to see more and more famous companies leave Mainland China and abandon the gamers.
Fourth, I do not agree that the high price was the reason why people did not buy iQue games. Compared to the current CPI index of China, I think the pricing of iQue games is already quite reasonable. Besides, people could purchase games via cheaper channels like online and mail orders. I think gamers would agree with our pricing if they knew about the cost of development.
That's all for today. I am thankful for LevelUp for providing me with a platform to discuss with everyone about China's video game industry for 3 issues in succession. However, that also means that I have piled up quite some work, and I would have to go back to do that. Sometime later, around the time before the Wii's release, I would come back again to the Guest Lounge. Thank you, everyone! I hope everyone continues to support iQue, support official China releases, and support genuine software!
A word from Xiaomi (小米）
Note: Not related to the smartphone brand, which was founded in 2010
Sorry, everyone! I had a somewhat heavy workload last week, so I couldn't participate in the discussions, but I have carefully read everyone's replies.
From everyone's discussions, I have discovered a phenomenon, probably one within expectation–most of the gamers here are not indulged in online games. User su枫x浪sho from reply #69, 穆悲雪 from reply #73, 暗之天皇 from reply #80n and youthew28307848 from reply #82 have all made rational analysis on the reason why online games are highly popular in China but TV games are relatively ignored. The reasons are strength of support, hardware availability, overly high prices, and widespread of piracy. I think piracy is the key factor, as it is precisely because piracy is more destructive to the TV games than online games, that other issues become a thing andTV games thus receive not enough investment and support. As for pricing issues, I think that if the piracy issue got resolved, the price of genuine software would drop to a lower level. However, genuine games, no matter how cheap they are, could not compete with free piracy, let alone "free" online games: )
Also, both users 不知火奶 from reply #83 and fate8426 from reply #93 coincidentally mentioned another reason for the popularity of online games, that is sociality. I strongly admire the two who could see through to this. From the development intent, the core of online game profit comes from extending the online time of players as long as possible, so the designs are more inclined towards encouraging players to build relationships among each other and eventually rely on this virtual space. This is different from the design of TV games, mostly designed from a complete and independent architecture. Of course, next-gen consoles have also started to strengthen internet features, but every TV game is designed to first offer the main dish of singleplayer, then expand into the dessert of online features. This is an issue of what comes first. Some gamers also gave the comparison of Online and TV games to "episodes" and "films". I think this is a very vivid metaphor, and this probably explains why core gamers with a very deep understanding of TV games often don't indulge in online games.
From the general trend, both online and TV games are learning and improving from each other, and this type of fusion will continue into the future. However, the difference in business models still fundamentally means they would have different initial designs. Okay, that's it for all the discussions today. I hope you guys enjoy a happy golden week!!! :)
Hi everyone, it's Xiaomi back again! In the discussions in the past two days one of our user friends gave a lot of examples, which in some aspects, manifested foreign companies' inability to get accustomed to China. I sincerely thank for this user's careful and serious research.
He mentioned a few star video game companies that once existed in China in the 80s. Sadly, all of these companies were running their business in what is obviously a gray area–selling clone consoles and software, or repackaging their consoles as a different kind of product that satisfies the parents' mentalities.
Note: This was probably referring to the manufacturers of Famicom and Mega Drive clones, as well as the "Education Consoles" derived from those clone consoles
It's undeniable that these decisions fit rather well with China's situation. However, the value of history to everyone is that one could reflect the present on history. Today, these companies have either disappeared or were stuck in a downturn, and their legend of glory or successes did not last into the year 2007. It's no doubt that the people in 2007 had greater purchasing power than 2 decades ago, and are more open towards video games, so why didn't these companies continue to flourish?
Next, let's take a look at foreign companies. True, they mostly play strictly by the rules, but they could not create legends. Does this mean the practices of the domestic companies 20 years ago do not work today, or they are doable but were deliberately not done?...There are no standardized answers, as everyone has their own views.
Did the companies who left China did so under the pressure of illegal or improper competition? I think this is far from the case, since companies in the grey area have already lost their influence by now. Did they leave because of pessimism from the policies? In fact, the policies have not changed for years (and it would be a good thing if they did), and the giants probably evaluated the effects of the policies before they entered, assuming that they did have long-term preparations.
Okay, that's all for the analysis, and I'd like to propose a question: "What we see right now is China's current real-life situation, retreating from China is of course, the last call of helplessness. So, as foreign companies that abide by the rules, what is the most possible course of action to recreate the legend achieved by domestic companies 2 decades ago?
The AMA ended towards the end of 2007.。
Two years after the forum thread, Nintendo's Chinese localization entered a sudden downturn. Many fully localized games were cancelled, the iQue Wii and Olympic plans never reached fruition, and iQue's founder, Dr. Wei Yen, left the company.
We [Gamers of the Chinese language region] are now living in a good era where even games like Xenoblade Chronicles and Tokyo Mirage Sessions come with Simplified Chinese support at launch. But in the past, even the release of one random game faced difficulty from all factors.
All of these did not come without much toll. What was everyday life today were dreams, delusions, and fantasies of the past. From the pioneer of Mani agent, to iQue's official China release quagmire, to the struggle of Auntie Tseng in Taiwan, and Nintendo HongKong's detour into China…Never forget to thank those who have kept working hard for the past two decades or more, as it was a path full of trials and tribulations.