Thanks to Always On Network for its analysis of China's MMORPG-hungry Internet cafe denizens
. According to the piece: "Pacific Epoch estimates that of the U.S. $2 billion-plus that online gaming will generate in China this year, about $1.2 billion will flow through internet cafe coffers."
However, since "China is growing so fast and its citizens are becoming wealthier"
, changes are in motion: "One internet cafe owner explained that SARS prompted a large number of newly wealthy Chinese to go out and buy computers... [and many] don't play games at the internet cafes anymore because they can now do so in the comfort of their own homes."
Blizzard's ravenously-awaited World Of Warcraft
is now hoped to revitalize the Chinese online gaming scene: "Although never officially announced, [Chinese online company] The9 is rumored to have paid up to U.S. $12 million for the right to operate WoW in China."