BEIJING - The tendency to use vulgarity in the promotion of online games is likely to be curbed, as the country's culture authorities tighten management of the cyber game market.
Zhai Ling, better known as Shou Shou, poses as the spokesperson for an online game on April 9 in Beijing. [Provided to China Daily]
The Ministry of Culture published a notice on Tuesday, requiring cultural departments at all levels to check the vulgar marketing of cyber games.
The notice said that related departments should require websites to delete fripperies included in online games, and should criticize and educate entrepreneurs who promote their cyber games through the use of profane and violent ads.
The new policy came after a series of touch balls played by online game companies aroused public controversy.
The online game Dahua Xuanyuan became a hit in December 2009 when the company hired Zhang Xiaoyu, a famous art model, as its spokesperson.
Then Zhai Ling, a car model known as Shou Shou who became famous after sex videos of her were uploaded on the Internet, received an offer from an online game company in April to represent its game Xi You Ji (Journey to the West).
The eye-catching marketing scheme climaxed on June 17, when a Shanghai-based game developer hired Sola Aoi, a Japanese adult video star. Along with Sister Phoenix and Sister Lotus - two controversial online celebrities who shot to fame by challenging traditional standards of beauty - Sola Aoi was hired to represent the game Warrior OL, which became the subject of heated debate.
Many criticized the phenomenon, calling it a vulgar tendency that harmed social morale.
Others said it was acceptable, since the promotions complied with the relevant laws.
Lin Chuan, a 24 year-old Beijing resident, said: "It is unnecessary to ban the porn star advertisements, because the players do not really care who is the spokesperson of the game."
The Ministry issued the interim measures on the management of online games on June 22, including a stipulation that bans the use of sex, gambling and violence in the promotion of the games.
The regulation, which is the first official document to focus on China's thriving online game industry, takes effect on August 1.
After the special notice on game marketing was issued on Tuesday, Wu Jun, vice-president of 9you.com, which developed Warrior OL, said during an interview with sina.com that he welcomed the new policy.
Zhao Xufeng, an analyst with the Iresearch Consultant Company, said: "The game companies can get more publicity with less expense by advertising with net celebrities."
According to Zhao, the online game industry is expected to contribute 30 billion yuan ($4.4 billion) to China's GDP this year.