China’s Massive Virtual District Discussed

    November 28, 2007

We’re not even positive of its name, but without a doubt, this will be big; China is making an 80-square-kilometer space into the home of nine huge virtual worlds.

Various reports call the physical space the “Beijing Cyber Recreation District” and the “China Recreation District,” while a press release seems to identify it as the “China Virtual Economy District.”  Blame it on the product’s unfinished state, or on poor translations, but you get the idea.

What really matters is the scale of this undertaking.  Christopher Sherman describes it as “quite simply . . . the largest virtual worlds effort that we know of and certainly the largest supported by a government.”  In addition to the Chinese government, a mobile operator and bank are involved, and corporations from all over the world are expected to join.

It remains to be seen how successful everything will be, though.  There’s little doubt that the project will be complete by the scheduled launch in June of 2008 – China’s productivity can’t be underestimated.  Yet, as crappy cars and recalled food and toys have demonstrated, the finished goods aren’t always of the highest quality.

Also, there’s the matter of the cultural divide that has hurt Google in China, and a language barrier that, as mentioned earlier, made a press release related to the District rather difficult to read.

Nonetheless, I’ll direct a hat tip to Wagner James Au, and note that I’m very interested in seeing the District go online.