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Taobao Cracks Down on Diablo 3 Sales, Vendors Start Selling “Pineapples”

Taobao Cracks Down on Diablo 3 Sales, Vendors Start Selling “Pineapples”

| May 29, 2012

Diablo 3 in China. But the game hasn’t been released yet here. Taobao vendors were doing a booming trade in, er, less-than-legal copies of the game, but the service is cracking down on sales of items that haven’t been approved by the Ministry of Culture, which means any overseas cultural products that haven’t been approved for release here. So vendors stopped selling Diablo 3 and started selling “big pineapples.”

Why? It’s a play on words, using the same sort of strategy Chinese net users often use to evade political censorship. Using Diablo 3′s official Chinese name — Dark God of Destruction — is being searched for by Taobao officials. But the Chinese term for “big pineapple” is dà bōluó, which sounds a bit like “Diablo.” By using that term, and adding pictures of pineapples, vendors can make it much harder for Taobao to track them down. And gamers won’t have much trouble finding the game, because it’s pretty obvious that “Big Pineapple 3, Asian Servers Edition, Official Version, All Language Support” isn’t actually a listing for a pineapple — especially when it’s priced at $60.

At the moment, the “pineapple” business appears to be booming, but it’s probably only a matter of time before Taobao catches wind of this and starts eliminating fraudulent pineapples from its online offerings. So, if you live in China and you’re looking for a taste of that sweet, sweet Diablo nectar, it’s probably best to act fast.

[JFDaily via Sina Tech]

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