Plants Vs Zombies 2 ‘hurts the feelings of the Chinese people’
James Griffiths | On August 7, 2013 at 11:00 am
Chinese gamers have taken to the web to express their anger at US-based developer Popcap Games for perceived price gouging in the Chinese version of Plants Vs Zombies 2.
Popcap was praised on this site when it released a localised Chinese version of its hit mobile game Plants Vs Zombies. But to say the developer failed to capture the magic a second time around would be understating matters.
According to reports, the Chinese version of Plants Vs Zombies 2 (PVZ2) is significantly more difficult than its English counterpart (only available in New Zealand and Australia at present). According to players, this difficulty bump is intended to force them to shell out for in-app purchases in order to make progress. In-app purchases are also considerably more expensive than in previous editions. Whereas unlocking six special plants in the original Plants Vs Zombies cost RMB 108 ($17.50), a similar in-app purchase in the sequel costs a whopping RMB 256 ($41.50).
It could be said that PVZ2 has hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.
Upon release on July 31 in the country, PVZ2 went straight to the top of the Chinese iTunes App Store. In the past week however, the app’s ratings have been plummeting, currently sitting at two stars with over 54,000 reviews (seriously, don’t piss off Chinese gamers). The English version, on the other hand, has been well received with an average rating of 4.5 stars from just over 13,400 reviews.
Popcap’s misstep may harm the developer’s relationship with more than just its Chinese customers. Sina reports that many gamers are attacking Popcap parent EA as well, saying they will never buy any games from either company. Popcap’s small Shanghai studio was left relatively unscathed by recent EA layoffs, mainly due to the success of Plants Vs Zombies: Great Wall Edition. It could also rebound on local partner Tencent.
In its most recent post, the official Plants Vs Zombies Weibo account celebrates the game having reached number one position on the Chinese app store. The 1,300 comments beneath the post, however, are all critical of Popcap and PVZ2, with one particularly angry commenter accusing Popcap’s local employees of betraying the Chinese people, while another says simply: “Chinese version sucks.”
(Editing by Steven Millward)