|Easy access: Children and teenagers are regular customers of many computer game shops around HCM City, including rural districts such as Tan Phu, Binh Tan and Binh Chanh. — Photo danviet.com
HCM CITY (VNS) — With more than 300 titles illegally available on websites, online games have come to dominate the country's internet entertainment market, according to a survey by the Ministry of Information and Communications.
Children and teenagers are regular customers of many computer game shops around HCM City, including rural districts such as Tan Phu, Binh Tan and Binh Chanh.
A shop of 20 computers with two rooms on Phan Van Tri Street in Tan Phu District, for example, attracts about 100 children a day.
Mass killings, shotguns, sex scenes, loud swearing, and the roar of motorbikes and sirens of police vans are features of many computer games.
"Because children like online games with the latest configurations I often have to upgrade my computers to satisfy their demand," Nguyen Van Thanh, owner of a computer shop in Tan Phu, said. "Most of our customers play illegal games from overseas."
The fee is only VND5,000 per hour.
"I play online games because they are so much better than other kind of games. My parents never complain if I ask them for money because they think I need to practice my computer skills," Nguyen Tien Minh, 13, said.
"The Demon Slayer and Warface are my favourite games. Playing the games, I am Superman who fights to the finish with criminals. I also play the game with some adults and we all have fun," he added.
Although parents may want their children to learn computer skills and how to access the internet, many children spend more time playing games than studying for school.
Many students have their own computer at home or rent one at computer rental services around the city to play online games.
"Playing games, I can become anyone: a policewoman, a terrorist, a street vagabond, or a hero of underground society," wrote Tran Thi Bao Tran, 23, on an online forum. "The fighting is lively because it is realised on a computer which has many functions."
After five years of playing online games on her MacBook, however, she stopped. "I killed myself on the game,"she said.
In 2010, the ministry stopped giving licences for online games. Currently, there are 117 legal online games, including 44 games that have been suspended.
According to a report in the Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper, producers and distributors such as Vinagame and FPT Online said they had been losing customers because users had shifted to playing illegal products that were cheaper.
A senior official at the HCM City's Culture and Information Service, said: "Online games have been smuggled into the city and are not easy to control."
The city has about 8,000 computer game sites, with most of them managed privately. — VNS