The Surprising Reason Asian MMOs Are Mouse-Based

Give up? It turns out Asian gamers want to smoke and game at the same time.

There are big design differences between American and Asian-based MMOs, Perfect World product manager Jon Belliss told me yesterday, while showing off Chinese-born MMO,“Perfect World International.”

One difference is grinding. Asian gamers love grinding far more than the rest of the world. Additionally, they also play almost exclusively with the mouse. Western MMOs are typically controlled with a mouse and keyboard. For the longest time, Belliss couldn’t figure out why this dichotomy existed.

Then, he observed the answer himself — cigarettes. A large portion of the MMO audience in Asia spend their time in crowded net cafes, where they chain smoke in one hand and grind to the next level, mouse-in hand, with the other.

Does that explain why “StarCraft” is so popular over there, too?