It used to be such a pain to be living in Singapore as a gamer.
I remember wanting to play Meridien 59 – the first MMO game – but it would have cost me my life savings connecting to a US server over 14.4kbps dial-up.
When World of Warcraft launched in November 2004, I was among the first to buy a copy from Tec-drome at Sim Lim. Even though I was reviewing games for The New Paper, in those days the distributors didnt bring in MMOGs. Guild Wars, Star Wars Galaxies, Jump To Light Speed – all bought with my own money. But the bigger problem – World of Warcraft was only launched in the US, Aust and NZ. Even though Vivendi was HQed in Singapore for the APAC region, they bloody ignored us, amazingly on the grounds that they chose countries with stable Internet infrastructure. Hogwash, because there is no way we were worse off than ANZ in those days.
The simple reason is that we are too small a market. Thankfully, all that was required was an Australian or US address and our good old local Singapore credit card was accepted.
BUT THINGS ARE DIFFERENT NOW!
Asia is now the growth region for online games, probably thanks to the huge population in China. All the Westerners are rushing to launch something in Asia, including South-east Asia. PopCapWorld.com is one example, offering the beta of its free browser games https://www.techgoondu.com/2010/03/16/free-unlimited-plants-vs-zombies-bejewelled2-zuma-and-more/ only to countries in South-east Asia. Next up is Heroes Of Might & Magic Online. Ubisoft apparently licensed this game to some China company to develop into an online game. I stumbled across the site and have downloaded the software and got accepted into the closed beta.
The game appears to follow closely to HOMM3 and HOMM5 and will obviously be popular to gamers in their 30s and 40s who grew up with the series. Apparently, these guys are targetting Asian gamers, so if you are from Asia (YESSS, US!) you will be accepted into the beta. So check it out now! http://homm.91.com/