This is the most searched keyword in the "Games" category on both Yahoo China today and has been since this blog started. But of course the Chinese people don't type "Crazyracing Kartrider" in the look-up bar, they type "跑跑卡丁车".
Crazyracing Kartrider was actually developed by Nexon, a South Korean online game developer. In S. Korea, the game was so successful that reportedly one-quarter of the population has played the game at some point in time. There are 15 million users of this game in S. Korea. I couldn't find statistics on the Chinese players.
Not knowing much about online games myself, I crawled several Chinese online forums to find out why this game is so taken by the young people in China, and I reached the following conclusion:
- The characters are really cute, which is very attractive for girls. In S. Korea, the game is almost like a national game and is played by people in the atypical group. In fact, I read about this report on a 52-year-old Chinese lady who plays the game.
- Almost endless options with the maps, themes, special tools (you pay real bucks for these) and playing levels. Players can race alone or in teams with different modes. There are tutorials and driving tests (license awarded!). It's almost impossible to get bored with the game.
- Smart marketing. The game has a catchy slogan: "Catch My Drift!". In China, the slogan is "全民漂移" which basically means "Everybody Drifts!" and they love it!
- Excellent distribution channels. Although the game is free, special gadgets are not. You need to buy a rechargeable card (much like a prepaid phone card). In China, there are distributors throughout the whole country where players can obtain the cards from. In some places like Shanghai, you can even just go down to the convenient store near your place to get the card. The face values are only 10 and 40 RMB (roughly 1.3 and 5.3 US respectively) and hence very affordable and attractive for young players.
So much for my analysis, maybe you would like to find out how fun this game really is first hand. You can check out and download the game in your language from the following sites: