New Online Game Aims for Cambodians

Cambodia is the fourth nation to gain rights to market the computer game Justice X-war 2, which local technology company CIDC Infor­mation Technology launched in January at the nation’s first registered online entertainment center on the fourth floor of Shopping Center Sorya.

More than 2,000 Cambodians now play the game at least once a week, and last Sunday JX2 stole the show at the annual Cam­bodia ICT World Expo as a steady crowd of 100-plus watched more than 120 people compete over three days in a JX2-competition.

Based on this enthusiasm, CIDC will open a second venue to host JX2 enthusiasts in May with 100 computers, said Mike Gaertner, chief operating officer of CIDC.

First released in 2005 in China and then in Vietnam and Malay­sia, JX2 is a role-playing game based on traditional Chinese Kung Fu culture.

The software maker, Kingsoft, is adjusting JX2 to Cambodian tastes: Theme music will soon be in Khmer and so will the characters’ style of dress, Gaertner said.

While a player must do battle to win in JX2, Gaertner said the focus is on social networking as the game can require upwards of 10 teammates online at the same time.

The next step for JX2, said Gaertner, is to connect all of Phnom Penh’s estimated 300 Internet cafes via a private DSL line owned by CIDC. For about $40, an Internet cafe can enable up to 20 computers to play JX2 at the same time without slowing the cafe’s Internet connection.

“We want them all hooked up,” Gaertner said.

Based on public reaction at Sunday’s technology expo, Gaert­ner might get his wish of establishing CIDC as the nation’s provider of online Internet entertainment, but the firm may face the obstacle of Internet cafes reticent to pay $40 for CIDC’s DSL line.

Su Chen Da, 29, was a competitor in Sunday’s JX2 competition, yet he said he would not purchase the DSL line for his Internet cafe on Street 63.

“I use ADSL Internet, and it’s big enough for playing games,” said Su Chen Da, the manager of Angkor Thom Internet.

Gaertner, however, thinks Cambodia’s nascent online entertainment sector is just waiting to be tapped and that CIDC’s DSL line offers Internet cafes a viable way to profit off the growing interest in playing JX2.

“Look at the market of Cambo­dia. What are your entertainment choices?” he said.

CIDC has also been careful to keep students from skipping school to play JX2, barring anyone wearing a school uniform from entering Sorya mall’s Enter Cyber Cafe, the cafe’s supervisor Ma Sokanitha said.  CIDC has also been care­­­­­ful to keep students from skipping school to play JX2, barring anyone wearing a school uniform from entering Sorya Mall’s Enter Cyber Cafe, the café’s supervisor Ma Sokanitha said.

 

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