Plants vs. Zombies 2 (PvZ 2) recently made a splash in China’s gaming industry, receiving much criticism regarding the aggressive monetization mode found inside the game. The Chinese version developed by PopCap, the Chinese arm of EA, is more demanding in terms of difficulty level, gaming time and item prices as compared with the English version.

Reviews by local media like this one, however, find the English version is too easy for smart and self-challenging Chinese gamers. The difficulty levels were elevated to increase player stickiness, and thus, PVZ2 becomes a more effective time killer. In addition to purchasing in-app items, PVZ2 offers gamers the alternative to gain free access to target plants through collecting fragments by defeating Yeti Zombies. It is up to the player to make the decision.

They don’t think the Chinese version of PVZ2 is too difficult that players can’t make through without purchasing or too easy that a game of four years’ hard work fails to make profit. The core design mindset here is that gamers either spend more time or spend money to save time.


Aircraft Fight, another hottest game in the recent week, also received controversial reviews despite its popularity among users, as most industry insiders predicted it will be short-lived. Derived from a similar classic game, the interface of the WeChat 5.0-based game is a little bit shoddy from the current point of view, but the stripped-down design also evoked a nostalgic sense among post-80s and post-90 youths, who are major audience of the game. An anonymous industry insider said that Aircraft Fight is more of a social product than a game, because the selling point of the game is not the gaming experience, but to share the scores to other friends. The popularity of Aircraft Fight also mirrored that platform is playing a bigger role in the marketing of games.

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Emma Lee

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via or Twitter.

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