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Gamania 25: Leading the Digital Wave

For 25 years, Gamania has been dedicated to a total online ecosystem corporation. It has grown from its own failures, and now it continues to adapt, innovate, and learn the language of the new era. Having been at the forefront of every breakthrough moment, Gamania has also made its mark. In the constantly changing industry, the company has led the industry revolution and promoted paradigm shifts. Every orange wave was turned with the courage to innovate and change with the world. It is a manifestation of Gamania’s core philosophy “Dare to Challenge”. The Gamania experience has been through all the changes of Internet in Taiwan. Each step that the company takes not only bring changes to different industries, and even academia, but create digital waves, one after another.

Gamania Creates Digital Waves, Stuns Different Industries

Let us board the time machine and go back 25 years to the 90s, when “modems” just started to appear. This insignificant looking box expanded the lives of the general public. The iconic dial-up noise connected the world. No fancy optic fiber, ADSL or wifi, just a simple telephone land line that connected everyone together. Downloading a photo of a hot girl may take a whole afternoon due to the its snail’s pace, and you might get chewed out by team members for prolonged lags while playing video games. Any connection online costs several thousands of dollars in the monthly phone bill. Despite the cost, one was still full of anticipation, waiting for the message sent from the other side of the window; such was the kind of romance of that era.

▲The dial-up tone that comes with the 56k modem connected the world with Internet (video source:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsNaR6FRuO0)

With the growing popularity of the home computer in Taiwan during the 80s and the 90s, the bulk of the global sales were to homes and enterprises, which created an enormous business opportunity for personal PC upstream and downstream suppliers, and software and hardware companies. It was during this era that Gamania started to blossom, when home computers and video game consoles were competing in the same market, Gamania’s predecessor, “Fullsoft”, released the PC game “Convenience Store” and stunned the industry. Not long after, the online game “Lineage” hit a big in Taiwan and further revolutionized the online world.

Industry Bombshell: The 299 Miracle, “Convenience Store” Challenges the Market

The simple and user-friendly “Convenience Store” was released as an answer to the desire “Everybody wants to be the boss” and to expand to the mass consumer market. Gamania adopted a unique marketing strategy for “Convenience Store”. In addition to racing to tap the undeveloped female market, the Company also fought against counterfeit game discs with high quality gaming content at a low price. This was a long shot in terms of the consumer trends of the times and resulted in the 1:1 male-to-female purchaser ratio for the game “Convenience Store”. It rewrote the traditional gaming market’s iron rule of more male than female gamers. The outstanding sales of 1.2 million copies of “Convenience Store” made Taiwan focus on the potential of the gaming industry and the unlimited possibilities of gaming research and development.

▲The launch of “Convenience Store” combat the pirate disc market, creating the 299 Miracle

Industry Bombshell: A New Chapter in Multi-player Gaming History

In 2000, Gamania’s online game “Lineage” made history again. The issue that Gamania had was” Is there a type of game in which multiple player can be engaged in and enjoy layered and different kinds of fun?” In light of the gradual saturation of the U.S. and Japan gaming market, Albert went to do a survey in Korea in 1999, and saw the business potential of “Lineage”. “Lineage” was distributed on the market in 2000. The game was the perfect gamer’s experience and it cost 170 million NTD to build Asia’s largest online gaming server room at the time. “Lineage” became the unbeatable legend in Taiwan gaming history, accumulating 9 million members and the highest record of 210,000 simultaneous logins, starting a new chapter in Taiwan broadband Internet history. “Lineage” is the real world’s key to the virtual realm. It was the key that also boosted the prosperity of Taiwan’s Internet cafés. Internet cafés quickly spread across Taiwan due to great connection quality plus the building of camaraderies through its fostering of friendships and social interactions. Top-up points and the monthly subscription mechanism were both started by “Lineage” and pioneered a new model in the industry.

Industry Bombshell, Industry-Leading Marketing Concept

How could a good video game do without a beautiful and cute spokesperson? Gamania is an industry pioneer in terms of its video game spokesperson marketing strategies. Since the beginning with “Convenience Store” in 1999, Gamania had made the popular star Tien Hsin (天心) the spokesperson. She also participated in the entire gaming production and planning process, and broke new ground by hosting a press release, helping “Convenience Store” achieve its great sales performance. Looking back now, the first generation goddess was not Yao Yao (瑤瑤) from the TV commercial, but “Gamer Cutie” Tien Hsin.

Before “Lineage” was released, gamers had access to 1 million free game discs in convenience stores offered by Gamania, or the main program by purchasing an Internet plan or a computer. This was an effective marketing campaign and made the game readily available to gamers. Even non-gamers were enticed by conversations about the game with their gamer friends.

Another unforgettable and unprecedented campaign was the “Lineage Giran Castle Porsche Speed Contest” in 2001 with the luxurious grand prize of Porsche. The massive media coverage and the wide network of 7-11 garnered a huge attention on “Lineage” by the gamers. The rule shattering and innovative campaign was listed as one of the 2001 “Top 10 Marketing Campaigns” by the renowned “Adm Magazine”.

▲”Lineage: Giran Castle” was on the market in July 2001. At the time, the sensational “Lineage Giran Castle Porsche Speed Contest” was held in Taiwan and Hong Kong

▲The rule shattering and innovative campaign for “Lineage” was listed as one of the 2001 “Top 10 Marketing Campaigns” by the renowned “Adm Magazine”

Academia Bombshell: Gaming Becomes an Academic Subject

A lesser-known fun fact about “Convenience Store” is that it was on the Korean market in June 2000, and its expansion pack “Fast Food Restaurant” released in Korea was selected as teaching material by Department of Management and Information Science of Busan University of Foreign Studies in Korea. At the time in the history of computer games, the only games to have been selected by renowned foreign universities as teaching material were probably “Sim City” and “Fast Food Restaurant”. “Convenience Store” simply wanted to serve as a relaxing game for non-gamers, but it made “playing video games” a professional discipline that is worth researching and studying, flipping the image of video games as time wasters.

▲”Fast Food Restaurant” was selected as teaching material by Department of Management and Information Science of Busan University of Foreign Studies in Korea

Speaking of wasting time, there was no such thing as a “trained professional” in Taiwan’s gaming industry at the early stage. That is because the formal education system did not include such department. Most computer game software R&D talents came from “various amateurs of different educational backgrounds”. The influence of “Lineage” propelled online gaming to its peak after 2000. Well-known online games such as “Ragnarok Online” and “Stone Age” entered the battleground, and Taiwan gradually began its warring era of online games. In 2002, digital games were listed among national digital content development policies. Universities also created several game-related departments to respond to the high demand of industry talents. It was a huge help to the gaming industry’s image and talent development.

Legal Community Bombshell: Facilitating the Establishment of New Laws

As mentioned above, the “Lineage” craze continue to spread like fire, followed by numerous new online games and uncountable gaming industry business opportunity. It offered business operations different models and meanings. The complexity and variety was difficult for traditional stores to imagine. Inevitably, the Taiwanese government started to impose an “Online Games Tax” on major gaming companies in April 2008. Furthermore, the virtual roles and props in “Lineage” were all quite valuable on the market, resulting in unscrupulous vendors engaging in illegal behavior. In 2012, the Ministry of Economic Affairs published the “Items to Include and Exclude from the Online Games Points (Card) Standard Form Contract”, providing player rights an extra layer of protection.

Gamania Leads the Revolution, Creates the New Digital Wave

Gamania started a chain reaction in different industries and solidified the market mechanism and industry development. The company’s continuous expansions and trials in the digital wave created a gaming operation module that has lasting abstract and concrete influences until today, becoming a model for other games. The mobile game “Lineage M” released in 2017 also broke Taiwan’s mobile game market records, toppling the saying from the outside world that “Gamania has lost its edge and can’t make mobile games”.

Gamania also spares no effort in building its brand culture. The company has an enviable humanistic management, flexible work hours, Grand Tour leave days, a 24-hour gym, and the most beloved employee cafeteria Gama Island. In 2008, Gamania founded the “Gamania Cheer Up Foundation”, fully dedicated to adventure education, and completed the magnificent feat of Taiwan’s first Antarctica Expedition in 2019. In the face of the impact from the new generation, Gamania is eager in adjusting its footsteps and becoming the pioneer in the industry. It also continues to challenge itself, creating self value and breaking existing market patterns. At the age of 25, Gamania continues to navigate forward in the digital wave, opening up more possibilities in the future.

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May 7, 2020

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