如此带刺的话，罕见地在中国ChinaJoy（中国国际数码互动娱乐产品及技术应用展览会）上，引起了一阵掌声。抄袭在游戏产业历程中是一个普遍的现象，就连Zynga公司、美国艺电公司、Activision Blizzard 联合公司都多多少少遭了殃。
中国的社交网络是在开放的平台上进行实验的，但所有人仍在开发自己的游戏，许多人仿制其他流行产品。尽管表面上努力营造一个第三方开发者的生态系统，人人网自己也已经开放人人农场和人人餐厅（Playfish’s Restaurant City的“忠实”拷贝），它们分别是网上最受欢迎游戏的第二和第四。苦恼的开发者声称网络系统以允许它们向使用者发出更多病毒通知的方式来优待自己的游戏。
以此同时，ChinaJoy SNS 和Social Game 论坛的发言人呼吁社交游戏开发者们进行改革创新，而不是发行其他农场游戏。下载flash代码然后在两个月内重建一款游戏在中国开发人员这里是很常见的。但这种战略在国外是不行的，国外社交网络和游戏寻求的是原创内容。
除了目前的挑战外，大多数与会者者期望中国的社交网能够逐步开放。社交网开心001最近发起了一个开放平台实验（之前是完全封闭的），这将转变双方业务关系中的议价能力.据有投资Kaixin001的清明企业（Qinming Venture）的出资者之一Hans Tung所说，同样的游戏，在开心001的每用户平均收入高出人人的2—3倍。腾讯的Qzone也在继续涉足授权游戏，尽管它提供的仅是Calvin Ng 所说的“一美元里的几美分”。如果中国社交网开始寻求开发商而不是通过其他途径，开发商的收益将会有所改善。
Copying is not the future of social games, unless you’re a Chinese social network
Though copying of both foreign-made and Chinese-made games is rampant in China’s social games industry today, that’s not what will drive the industry forward.
Liu Jian, chief operating officer of Oak Pacific Interactive, owners of the popular RenRen social network, stated, “Copying cannot be the future model for social game developers, unless you’re Tencent.”
That barb, rare at a Chinese conference like the recent ChinaJoy event, prompted a round of applause. The issue of copying is a common one in game industry history, with the likes of Zynga, Electronic Arts, and Activision Blizzard being blasted for it at some point or other.
Tencent, a Chinese internet giant with a dominant instant messaging service and popular social network, has come under heavy fire for copying and pushing out smaller players. The magazine China Computerworld went so far as to publish a controversial cover story called “F**king Tencent,” with a picture of the Tencent Penguin stabbed with knives, writing:
Tencent is never the first to “eat crab” [to try out new things]. It looks for a space in a mature markets to shove its way in. However, the methods it chooses also invite controversy: imitation, sometimes unscrupulous “shanzhai” copying.
As early as 2006, Sina founder Wang Zhidong openly accused [Tencent founder] Ma Huateng of being the industry’s “plagiarism king,” and of brazen plagiarism at that.
Tencent’s speaker was up next and did not let slight pass unnoticed. Peter Zheng, General Manager of the Qzone Social Network Product Center, responded that at least Tencent did not copy its entire social network from Facebook, referring to the fact that RenRen’s design and features, down to the shade of blue, are remarkably “similar” to Facebook.
China’s social networks are experimenting with open platforms, but all still produce their own games, many of them knockoffs of other popular titles. Despite ostensibly striving to create an ecosystem of third party developers, RenRen itself has released RenRen Farm and RenRen Restaurant (a ‘faithful’ copy of Playfish’s Restaurant City), the second and fourth most popular games on the network, respectively. Upset developers allege that the network privileges its own games by allowing them to send out more viral notifications to users.
The power of Chinese social networks means that developers earn zero or low revenue share and therefore struggle to generate significant revenues in the domestic market. Calvin Ng, a CEO and advisor to several gaming companies, says, “But you can’t say that social networks are not making money, when they see a good idea that’s making money they just copy it because they want to make everything.”
At the same time, speakers at the ChinaJoy SNS & Social Game Forum urged social game developers to innovate, rather than release another farm game. It’s common for Chinese developers to download the flash code and then reconstruct a game within two months. But this strategy may not work abroad, where social networks and gamers are seeking original content.
Even domestically, Chinese social networks, when they do cooperate with developers, are now looking for more original and exclusive content. Chinese social networks often offer higher revenue share if developers agree not to release games on competitor’s platforms.
PopCap, a U.S. casual games company with a studio in Shanghai, just announced a pioneering cooperation to release innovative games on RenRen, which will test the success of both original games and foreign developers in China. PopCap’s games, especially Plants vs. Zombies, are widely pirated in China, but the company has not yet been able to make much money in China.
China has onerous rules for foreign developers who seek to introduce their games into the market. Massive multiplayer online games officially require a local partner to handle the distribution of all games, hence Blizzard’s cooperation with NetEase on World of Warcraft. It’s a gray area as to whether a social network like RenRen qualifies as a distribution partner in the case of social games—it seems the rules are still being written.
Despite the current challenges, most of the attendees expect China’s social network to gradually open up more. The social network Kaixin001 recently launched an open platform experiment (it was previously completely closed), which may shift the bargaining power in the relationship. For the same game, average revenue per user is 2-3 times higher on Kaixin001 than on RenRen, according to Hans Tung, a partner at Qinming Venture, which invested in Kaixin001. Tencent’s Qzone also continues to dabble in licensing games, though it offers only “a few cents on the dollar” according to Calvin Ng. If Chinese social networks start chasing developers rather than the other way around, revenue share will surely improve for developers.
Developers are being challenged to create games that are more innovative, targeted, and difficult to copy. If they are able to achieve that, even Chinese social networks should slowly open up.