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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - CIDC-IT set to launch online title in spite of crackdown on gaming

CIDC-IT set to launch online title in spite of crackdown on gaming

CIDC Information Technology is committed to rolling out its second online game, Attack Online (AK), despite a government crackdown on gaming centres in Cambodia, Chief Operations Manager Mike Gaertner has said.

Authorities consider online gaming a form of gambling, and therefore illegal in Cambodia, Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak confirmed Tuesday.

This week CIDC-IT’s major competitor, Vietnam-based VTC Online, announced it has suspended the release of its first Cambodian title, Audition, until the legality of gaming centres is confirmed.

CIDC-IT says users of its first computer game title, Justice X Wars II (JXII), increasingly played from home even before police shuttered up to 300 gaming centres earlier this year.

“The transition of players playing from home [instead] of using game centres and internet cafes started in the third quarter of 2009,” Gaertner told the Post this week via email.

Though declining to give the exact figure, CIDC-IT said it has made “substantial investment” to bring AK to the Cambodian market.

AK is a first-person shooter game similar in scope to the popular international title Counterstrike.

Although a release date for the online game has not been set, it has been undergoing testing since April 1.

Once closed testing is complete, the next step will be testing the game among the general population, Gaertner said.

Gaertner said: “The main issue is not how many want to play, as how many can play,” as the new title will require a more modern system to play.

Last month, CIDC-IT launched a number of internet-based services that range from locally tailored chat rooms to social networking and entertainment services under the Sabay brand name.

Chy Sila, CIDC-IT chief executive officer, added earlier this week: “I want people to see more people having computers to get online ... when they go back home.”

The service provider has recently started, for the first time, offering low budget computer netbooks with three-month free internet packages to attract users, with young consumers as its main target.

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