Chinese publisher uses a unique pay-to-play system that becomes a hit with 1 million players

NCSoftâ??s Aion spinning money in China

Using a unique payment system, Shanghai-based publisher Shanda has announced that over 1 million people are playing NCSoft’s popular MMO Aion.

Late in 2007, Shanda struck a deal with NCSoft that would allow it to operate the game across China. This deal is said to have cost Shanda around £20 million.

The publisher then decided to establish a new model for the game in China, where users had to purchase physical time cards which afforded more hours playing the game; essentially making it an extended version of the classic arcade cabinet system.

That system seems to have paid off, with Shanda confirming that some 1 million users in China are currently buying time cards to play. As of April 16, users are paying 0.48 Renminbi (5p / 7¢) each hour to play the game.

Shanda is also now a strategic investor of NCsoft’s Chinese subsidiary, NCsoft China.

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