A recent survey shows that the number of online game users in China reached 40 million last year. That's more than a 20 percent increase from the year before.
At ten o'clock at night in a Beijing Internet cafe, there are still a lot of people inside. Most of them are young people playing online games.
An industry report says that over ninety percent of online game users are under 30.
An online game player said, "Online games help me deal with the pressures of life. The scenarios don't come up in real life, so I can be famous and get whatever I want, when I play."
Players say this is their way of communicating with each other.
An online game developer said, Through online games, people in different places can communicate as they play."
Though many players admit that online games are time consuming and cost a lot of money, the number of users is increasing. It's estimated that by 2012, there will be 80 million online game players in China.
Driven by profit, developers are constantly working on new games. Last year, more than 250 new games entered the market. But figures show that games with a native cultural background are preferred, even by foreigners.
"During our research on new games, we found we can promote Chinese culture as well as the game itself." said an online game developer.
Criticism about online games is beefing up...with more and more young people spending too much time playing games that are full of violence, gambling and superstition.
Kou Xiaowei from Gen. Admin. of Press & Publication said, "We are putting forward stricter monitoring measures. If bad content is found, it will be deleted."
With the help of government guidelines, developers are producing better quality online games suitable for young people.
Games that are not violent or offensive, but ones from which a player can learn, such as general knowledge of quiz games.
Officials say they will spend five years on purifying the online games. Their goal is to produce games that entertain and at the same time, provide useful knowledge.