Soul of the Ultimate Nation (SUN) 奇迹世界, a South Korean “action” massively multiplayer role-playing game developed by Webzen and licensed to leading Chinese game operator The9, was recently voted “Most Anticipated Online Game of 2006” by Chinese gamers. (Link to Chinese article). SUN is currently in closed beta in Korea. It will be in open beta on May 15, and testing phase later this year in China. It’s a popular game; there were 999 slots for the first closed beta testing, and over 300,000 people applied for them. Webzen says:
With the number of current
subscribers at over 1 million, many are curious to see what sort of new
record will be seen during the open beta in May.
As you can begin to see, this is not a minor issue, as the opening of an MMORPG might be in the U.S.. In China this will be a big deal in the mainstream media, the chat rooms and forums, on television and in advertising.
If you’re in the mood for general Chinese gaming industry stuff, check out this recent Gamespot interview with Lisa Hansen of the gaming research and consultancy Niko, on Niko’s bullish outlook on the market.