The evolution of video games distribution in the last twenty years has been nothing short of mind boggling from bulky plastic cartridges in the 80s to digital downloads over the internet. Even though the plastic cartridges have transformed to CDs and now DVDs and that market is still going fairly strong, the trend of buying online is growing every day. Internet speeds are faster than ever expected and the gaming boxes have plenty of storage space for the downloads. It’s easier and faster to buy online than driving to the store and fighting the crowds and people love that convenience.
Buying games online is easy with the Xbox Store which covers the Xbox One family, and that includes the Xbox One S and Xbox One X. The Xbox Store will allow you to buy and download games with your Xbox console or your PC or laptop. The Xbox Store is the official and most complete collection of Xbox software; the selection is absolutely gigantic! The Xbox Store not only has the latest trending titles, but also it has small arcade games and even older Xbox 360 and original Xbox games. The prices are reasonable, ranging from $5.00USD to about $75.00USD.
What’s nice about buying from the Xbox Store with a web browser is that there’s a button that you can click that will download and install the game!
It seems that the Chinese prefer doing their illegal gambling in countries other than their own. Who can blame them since getting caught on Chinese soil would likely mean a horrible prison sentence. For example, on December 4th, two ringleaders of an illegal online gambling scam were sentenced to life in prison. And the other operators involved received from 6 months to 15 years just for their participation in the scam.
Here are a few recent incidents:
November 22 – fifteen Chinese nationals were arrested in Manila and Angeles City for working in the country illegally and for being involved in illegal online gambling operations. Equipment that officers of the National Bureau of Investigation seized from the units were Wi-Fi routers, smartphones, laptops and desktops. Oddly, it is estimated that from 200,000 to 400,000 Chinese nationals may be working in Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations companies.
On December 21 – police in Malaysia broke up an online gambling operation that included over 30 Chinese nationals, many of whom the police believe were tricked into working for the gambling ring.
December 20 – there was another incident in the Philippines, officers from the NBI arrested 14 Chinese nationals for illegal online gambling in Bacolor. In this case, the NBI even published there names.
- Chen Ya Ting
- Chen Chengang
- Sun Qiao Yan
- Wei Bing
- Lei Shi Feng
- Gao Cheng Feng
- Lin Jin
- Wang Hai Tao
- Wu Cheng Pin
- Ruan Cheng Hui
- Gao Fei
- Chen Long Xi
This problem is repeated every few months so there is a hole in the visa policy somewhere.
China has the lead in what’s called 5G broadband; super fast connections. Their pet corporation, Huawei, is number two in the world for smartphone sales, they’ve expanded their landmass by building artificial islands, and China is the world’s biggest online games market. What’s next?
Now the Chinese have established an Online Game Ethics Committee that will vet online games, (established by the Central Propaganda Department, no less). At first glance it seems that this committee will protect kids from bad games and bad actors in those games. It might do that, but the bigger picture is that this committee will enforce and advance the Chinese government’s social order.
Of the first twenty games that were reviewed, nine were rejected, the other eleven were sent back with instructions to make certain changes. The Chinese online game industry has already been having a slow year due to other government regulations. Even TenCent Holdings, the leader in online games in China, reported lost over US$100bil (RM417bil) in market value since the beginning of the year. This is due to the government not approving and new titles in 2018. The reasons they give were violent content, sexual content, nearsightedness in children and teens, and quell addiction fears.
If you’re new to online gaming, ‘boosting’ might be a new term for you. Boosting is basically cheating by various means such as having a friend join the other team and letting you kill him which you gain points for the kill. Another way is if a skilled player plays on a less skilled friend’s account in order to help that friend boost their ranking.
Although online games are popular all around the world, there are some countries where playing online games is more than just a casual pastime; it’s an obsession and if players are highly skilled they can earn substantial money playing some of the games. Where there is money, there is always some people that will do anything in order to get some sort of unfair advantage.
South Korea is one of those countries where ‘gaming’ is rampant. There are internet cafes that stay open all night and the seats are usually filled with teens playing games and trying to improved their skills and advantage. In South Korea, there are actually online ‘boosting’ services that will bring unskilled players into a certain game of your choice in order to make it easier for you to excel.
However, recently, the South Korean government has been cracking down on boosting and if one is caught, it could actually mean time spent in jail.
Is it worth it?
The online gambling industry is booming, expanding, and advancing at a rate that is boggling the minds of investors and innovators. It is predicted to bring in over $70 billion dollars just five years from now. The most basic reason for this rapid growth is that there is no better thrill for the average person than placing a bet and watching the results come in with the chance of hitting it big!
With a closer look, there seem to be two deeper reasons for this gambling surge. One is the technology of the internet itself. Everyday tens of thousands of people become connected to the internet for the first time, and more and more countries are ‘getting wired’ simply because it helps their economy.
The second reason is the availability of mobile phones. It has been said there are more cell phones in the world than people. The bookmakers have noticed and just about everyone of them has developed an application that will run on any smart phone. Therefore, a person can place a bet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And this is not just betting on horse races; it’s all the games in typical casino, plus many, many sports bets.
Governments are taking notice since there is huge tax income that can be generated from legalizing online betting. Plus, the licensing fees in the millions of dollars. It’s all very hard to turn a blind eye.
And it’s not slowing down!
Epic Games, the maker of the huge hit Fortnite recently announced that they will be launching an online games store similar to Apple’s, Google’s, and Valve’s stores. Fortnite Battle Royale is said to have a player base of over 200 million and has raked in of $1 billion USD by way of in-game microtransactions. The game itself is free to play which attracts a lot of players. Fortnite has everyone from young teens to celebrities as it’s players. Some say that it’s a cultural phenomenon.
Because of it’s overall acceptance and popularity, Epic Games is sure to draw a huge crowd to it’s online games store, but the real kicker is that Epic has taken the bold step of asking for only 12% from app developers; that’s less than half of what the other games stores are charging. This could put pressure on Google, Apple, and Valve and eventually change the whole game-ecosystem.
“This is a big deal and has potentially far-reaching
implications well beyond just game developers”
Benjamin Schachter, an analyst with Macquarie Capital.
In another cost saving move, Epic will wave royalty fees for it’s game development tool Unreal Engine when the game is hosted in their store. All in all, Epic will be shaking things up.
We’ll see what happens!