Chinese fans fight against pirate takeover of community

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It doesn’t pay to rip off video games. It’s even worse if you try to solicit bootleg versions of it to the fans.

Kantai Collection (or Kancolle for short) is one of the most popular franchises to come out of Japan in recent memory. The Japanese-exclusive browser-based free-to-play online card game has blossomed to over 2.2 million players and growing. Players collect a variety of anthropomorphized Japanese World War II battleships and sortie them on mission maps to defeat enemies in order to collect even more ships.

A particular favorable aspect of the game is that the micro transactions are not openly pushed by the developers and even educate players to spend their resources carefully. Within a year, the game has proven to be a cultural phenomenon with fan-derivative works numbering in the thousands at Japan’s largest convention, Comiket. An anime adaptation has recently started airing as well, bringing in a whole new audience to game. Despite the game’s exclusivity in Japan, it hasn’t stopped would-be overseas players from getting around the supposed restrictions.

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Kantai Collection’s Game Screen

Much like anything that gains immense popularity, Chinese companies are sure to come out with knockoffs. In this particular case though, one group of Chinese pirates attempted to buy out its users on one of China’s largest internet forums, Tieba.

On January 14th, Chinese pirates reportedly paid Baidu, the parent company of Tieba, 700,000 RMB (roughly $113 thousand US dollars) for administrative access to the Kancolle subforums of Teiba. Baidu is China’s largest search portal, and often touted as the Google of China. Later, the original forum administrators were mysteriously replaced, proceeded to openly advertise an unauthorized server of the game. Little did they know the fans won’t stay silent for long.

The sudden takeover caused an outrage in the Chinese Kancolle community. Many were rubbed the wrong way due to the misinterpretation of the pirate servers using the service to pose as an legitimate Chinese server to unsuspecting new players. Users of Teiba responded by filling the board with illicit pictures and attacking the pirate server website with DDoS attacks in an attempt to lock down the forum.

The attacks on the server have since gone viral, with the 700k buyout deal reaching the top of Baidu’s search engine. Baidu themselves have come out denying any involvement with the pirate servers, though anonymous sources have reported several people at Baidu resigned over the incident. Meanwhile, the pirate server is still attempting to continue operation. Chinese fans have even started a petition to take down the service due to the face the servers are located in the US.

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The keywords “Buy Tieba with 700K RMB” surged to the top of Baidu’s search rankings.

Chinese copycats of popular games are not a new thing. Many of them operate under a blanket of obscurity and often copyright holders often have little power to do anything due to China’s leniency on enforcing copyright laws. These gamers have take it upon themselves to fight back against corruption and bribes that have become commonplace in China. Though we do not support DDoS attacks or hacking of any sort, the popularity of Kantai Collection speaks volume of just how fast the influence of this game has reached around the world.

Source: Sina China (translated by users of Kancolle Community Forum)

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