Soft Sell - The Middle Way
So-called 'soft' gaming could be the way forward in key online marketsThursday, 19 February 2009
The Middle Way
Mahjong and other traditional Asian games offer a half way house between 'hard' and 'soft' gaming
For those content providers or site operators determined to target the China market, there are distinctively Chinese pastimes such as mahjong that occupy the middle ground between hard and soft gaming.
There are already tens of millions of people playing mahjong offline in China either betting among themselves in small private games at home, or playing for fun in organised associations across China.
Last year CryptoLogic invested in the online games company Mahjong Time.
"We're very excited about the Mahjong Time deal for several reasons," says Ken Crouse.
"One is that mahjong might be the ultimate game for convergence. We've all been waiting for the mahjong market to take off for a number of years and we all hear about the hundreds of millions of players that love to play the game in China. It's a national pastime for a variety of reasons. Some people bet on it for cash like a poker game, and other people play for the community experience.
"One of our bets on mahjong is not that it's going to be the game of choice for gamblers, but that it might be so popular with community play that it then creates a space for all the other products."