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China company developing Nintendo Wii-like service for US$20

Michael Kan | Nov. 1, 2010
3DiJoy Corp. is trying to bring console-free gaming to China via IPTV services

BEIJING, 29 OCTOBER 2010 - Chinese company 3DiJoy Corp. is aiming to put a Nintendo-Wii like gaming service in households across China over the new few years. The target cost: US$20, a tenth of what the Wii gaming system goes for in the U.S.

The difference is that 3DiJoy's gaming service reduces the actual game machine, and instead will piggyback as an add-on for Internet Protocol television (IPTV) services being offered by telecommunication companies.

The gaming service resembles the Nintendo Wii in that it uses stick controllers, with built-in motion sensing technology inside. The games, however, can be played online by using an IPTV service.

"That will drastically lower the barriers to playing such games," said company CEO Li Hsu. "You do not need to connect the gaming box to a television set. You are already connected to the game through your television."

The company, based in Shanghai, is working to fill a void left by a government ban prohibiting popular gaming systems like the Wii and Microsoft's Xbox 360 from being officially sold in the China. This gives 3DiJoy a big advantage in the China market, even as other U.S. companies develop similar systems to allow for console-free gaming.

"These (overseas) game consoles are banned in China. So ours are legal. Those are not. That's one major difference," he said.

The company's gaming service was even featured in the Chinese local news, when Liu Yunshan, the head of China's Propaganda Department, played 3DiJoy's games in May.

3DiJoy, specializes in motion sensing gaming, and has been developing the technology for more than four years, according to Li. But the company's business strategy differs from overseas video game giants, like Sony or Nintendo. 3DiJoy's gaming service will not be widely available in retail stores, but instead the company is partnering with PC manufacturers and telecommunication carriers as a way to deliver their products.

In China, 3DiJoy is working with telecommunication carriers to enhance their IPTV services by offering motion-sensing games. China Telecom is already featuring the service, calling it "Tigan Youxi" or "Somatic Gaming", and selling it as part of an add-on.

3DiJoy sees their gaming solution as an affordable alternative. In the case of China Telecom, the carrier's IPTV service can cost around 30 yuan ($4) a month.

"There is enough hardware and computer boxes. Why would we need another piece of extra hardware to play such games?" Li said.

The company is planning on rolling out more of its gaming service in China through telecommunication companies, with the goal of it reaching tens of thousands of households in 2011. After that, 3DiJoy hopes sales for the service will grow exponentially, betting that tens of millions of people in China will be using high-end television subscription services like IPTV in the coming years.


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