Media globalization in Cultural Industries on 21st century: A case study of Taiwan’s online gaming industry

Prof. Lai Chi CHEN
Associate Professor, School of Journalism and Communication, Shantou University, China

This paper examines the impact of globalization on the development of Taiwan’s game industries by using the model of scenarios of globalization in the cultural industry, monolithic conglomerations, symbolic conglomerations, dominant agglomerations, which is developed by Lampel and Shamsie (2005).

Games industry has indeed become a globalized cultural industry when it requires heavy investment in the process of production, marketing and distribution. There is a strong tendency to integrate vertically and horizontally in order to control costs and ensure access to as wide a set of distribution channels as possible. The Western game companies are the major player in the global market, such as Blizzard (US based). Besides that, Asian game companies, such as Japanese and Korean game firms, enter the global market as they successfully adapt another path, seeking vertical synergies by expanding complex collaborative networks.

Nowadays, games market can be divided into online computer game, mobile game, console game and arcade game. In Taiwan the consumption of online computer game has become the mainstream market, taking account at least 80% of market share, according to MIC. Normally MMORPGs (massive multi-player online role-playing games) make up 60 percent of the market share, while casual games take the rest of the online gaming market.

Worth to note, Taiwan has indeed become a mature and sophisticated consuming market as different types of game products have an appeal to different groups of Taiwanese players. Imported foreign games, the US, Korean and Japanese-produced games, have taken account 80% of the Taiwan’s game market. Some of the global games, such as Diablo (computer game) and Angry Bird (mobile game), have become the most popular game titles in Taiwan. However, most of the foreign game products still require a complicated process of localization before and after entering Taiwanese market. For analyzing the characteristics of Taiwan’s game market and examining the development of Taiwan’s game industry, four popular game products in Taiwan in 2012, TERA (developed by Korean NHN), Diablo (US’ Blizzard), and League of Legends (US’ Riot Games) and funghi gardening kit (Japan’s Beeworks) are used as case studies in the paper. The results show that different types of models have been established between the Taiwan game companies and the foreign companies as Taiwan’s game industry has incorporated into the trend of media globalization.