The Missing Magic Ingredient Holding Back China’s Gaming Industry

Chinese gaming firms are rolling out big new titles based on hit properties like “Harry Potter.” But even the hits are held back by their focus on competitive multiplayer over story.

Last September, Chinese “Harry Potter” fans commemorated the end of summer vacation by signing up for classes at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the virtual world of “Harry Potter: Magic Awakened.” A mobile game developed by the Chinese company NetEase, “Magic Awakened” promised players the opportunity to relive their favorite moments from the series — without having to pay the price of admission for Universal Beijing’s new Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction.

Gamers soon began to joke that “Magic Awakened” was “as liver-depleting as it is expensive to play.” A common term in the Chinese gaming community, “liver-depleting” refers to a game that leaves players too exhausted to function. Its connotations can be good or bad, depending on your perspective: Some liver-depleting games, like “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” are addictive, engaging players in immersive worlds they don’t want to leave. Others simply pressure players to keep playing late into the night. As for “Magic Awakened,” the consensus online was that the game was a mixture of both.

The appeal of “Harry Potter: Magic Awakened” is straightforward. Its designers adopted many elements from the original “Harry Potter” universe, including the soundtrack from the movies and an art style cribbed from the novels — as well as plot points that echo Harry’s quest for justice, love, and friendship — and merged them into a coherent single-player story mode. Continue to read the full article here

– This article originally appeared on Sixth Tone.