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online games in China – a bibliography

Journey to the West

(updated March 18th 2011)

A chunk of my Masters research dealt with online games in China.  In my thesis I examined how particular mixtures of material infrastructure, software platforms and the desires of gamers creates uniquely ‘gamic’ spatial distributions of social networks.  By focusing  specifically on the variable ‘need for speed’ in video games  (think World of Warcraft compared to Crossfire or Counter-Strike), I discussed how simple elements of play like a players’ ping can dynamically shape the geographic distribution of individuals within an online social field.

Studying online games in China is still an academic niche, but in any case there is a small collection of research out there.  If you are interested in the newest research check out Silvia Lindtner’s, Dean Chan’s and Marcella Szablewicz’s work. And, as always, If you have anything to add please send it my way.

  1. Cao, Y., & Downing, J. D. (2008). The realities of virtual play: video games and their industry in China. Media, Culture & Society, 30(4), 515-529
  2. Chan, D. (2006). Negotiating Intra-Asian Games Networks: On Cultural Proximity, East Asian Games Design, and Chinese Farmers. Fibreculture 8.
  3. Chan, D. (2009). Towards a Socio-Cultural Cartography of In-Game Protests. Proceedings of Digra: Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory.
  4. Chan, D and Hjorth, L (eds). (2009). Gaming Cultures and Place in Asia-Pacific. Routledge.
  5. Dibbell, J. (2007). The Life of the Chinese Gold Farmer. New York Times.
  6. Ge, Jin. (2006-). Chinese gold farmers (in progress documentary).
  7. Golub, A., and Lingley, K. (2008). Just like the Qing Empire: Internet Addiction, MMOG’s and Moral Crisis in Contemporary China. Games and Culture 3(1), 59-75.
  8. Lee, I., Yu, CY and Lin, H. (2007). Leaving a Never-Ending Game: Online MMORPGs and Online Gaming Addiction. Proceedings of Digra: Situated Play Conference.
  9. Lee, YH and Lin, H. (2005). An Irrational Black Market? Boundary Work Perspective on the Stigma of in-game Asset Transactions. Proceedings of DiGRA 2005 Conference: Changing Views – Worlds in Play. (Taiwan)
  10. Lin, H. (2005).  Gendered Gaming Experience in Social Space:From Home to Internet Cafe. Proceedings of DiGRA 2005 Conference: Changing Views – Worlds in Play. (Taiwan)
  11. Lin, H and Chuen, TS. (2003). Problems in simulating social reality: Observations on a MUD construction. Simulation and Gaming 34(1), 69-88. (Taiwan)
  12. Lin, H and Chuen, TS. (2005). The ‘White-eyed’ Player Culture: Grief Play and Construction of Deviance in MMORPGs.  Proceedings of DiGRA 2005 Conference: Changing Views – Worlds in Play. (Taiwan)
  13. Lin, H and Chuen, TS. (2007). Cash Trade Within the Magic Circle: Free-to-Play Game Challenges and Massively Multiplayer Online Game Player Responses. Situated Play, Proceedings of DiGRA 2007 Conference. (Taiwan)
  14. Lindtner, S., Mainwaring, S., Dourish, P., & Wang, Y. (2009). Situating Productive Play : Online Gaming Practices and Guanxi in China. Proceedings of the 12th IFIP TC 13 International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction: Part I, 328 – 341.
  15. Lindtner, S., Nardi, B., Wang, Y., Mainwaring, S., Jing, H., Liang, W., et al. (2008). A Hybrid Cultural Ecology : World of Warcraft in China. CSCW’08.
  16. Lindtner, S and Szablewicz, M. (2010). China’s many Internets: Participation and Digital Game Play across a Changing Technology Landscape. China Internet Research Conference 2010: Internet and Modernity with Chinese Characteristics: Institutions, Cultures and Social Formations.
  17. Lo, K. (2009). the Web Marriage Game, the Gendered Self, and Chinese Modernity. Cultural Studies, 23(3), 381-403.
  18. Nakamura, L. (2009) Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game: The Racialization of Labor in World of Warcraft. Critical Studies in Media Communication 26(2), 128-144.
  19. Qiu, J. L., & Liuning, Z. (2005). Through the Prism of the Internet Cafe: Managing Access in an Ecology of Games. China Information, 19(2), 261-297.
  20. Szablewicz, M.T (2004). A Space to be Your (virtual) Self: An Introduction to the World of Internet Gaming in the Urban Chinese Wangba. Masters dissertation published online.
  21. Szablewicz, M. (2010). The ill effects of “opium for the spirit”: a critical cultural analysis of China’s Internet addiction moral panic. Chinese Journal of Communication 3(4). 453-470.
  22. Strom, P and Ernkvist, M. (2008). Enmeshed in Games with the Government: Government Policies and the Development of the Chinese Online Game Industry. Games and Culture 3(1), 98-126.
  23. Strom, P and Ernkvist, M. (2007). The Unbound Network of Product and Service Interaction in the MMOG Industry: With a Case Study of China. Proceedings of Digra: Situated Play, 639-649.
  24. Zhou, Q and Kolko, B. (2005). The Localization of Digital Games: A Case Study in China. Proceedings of Digra: Changing Views: Worlds in Play.


  1. China Internet Network Information Center (for up to date statistics on internet usage, including online games, in China

Lastly, considering that the games of choice for academic study are almost always those that are the most obviously social (MMO’s), where does this leave casual games? They deserve our consideration:  Have MMO’s reached market saturation in China?

2 Responses so far.

  1. […] online games in China – a bibliography – additions Kart Rider I have added some articles to my bibliography of research on online games in China.  See the original list in its entirety here: […]

  2. […] further reading on a number of the topics above check out my bibliography of online games in China. This entry was posted on Sunday, March 20th, 2011 at 9:29 amand is filed under […]

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