Buying God of War 2 in Shanghai

I recently went to my local video game store and asked when God of War 2 was coming out (yeah, I’m a little excited about this game). They told me March 15th. Well, this past week at ChinesePod was really busy, working hard to implement all kinds of new features.

Yesterday (March 16th) after work, I met my wife for dinner. She asked about God of War 2. I had forgotten about it. We rushed over to a nearby video game store, and the conversation went something like this (keep in mind that the normal price in Shanghai is 5 RMB per PS2 game):

> Me: Do you have God of War 2?

> Shop Owner: (not looking up from his game) Yes.

> Me: How much?

> Shop Owner: (not looking up from his game) 20.

> Me: 20?! Why??

> Shop Owner: (not looking up from his game) It’s DVD-9 and it’s brand new.

> Me: So how long is it going to be 20?

> Shop Owner: (not looking up from his game) Come back tomorrow and it’ll be 10. No, wait, 15.

> Me: Forget it.

Then my wife and I headed to our local video game store. We were afraid it would be closed, but it wasn’t. They had God of War 2, but the boss told me it wasn’t working on a lot of people’s PS2 machines. When I tried to pay, he insisted on giving it to me for free, because I had recently helped him out with something.

When I got home it took about 5 tries, but it worked.

Today John B informed me that that same shop is charging 15 RMB for the game.

Oh, and by the way… yes, it is awesome.

P.S. Piracy is bad!


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. 5RMB or even 20RMB seems ridiculously low. Are they legit prints of GoW2? I remember when I was in Shanghai, it was next to impossible to find legit movie DVDs!

  2. So…your wife actively encourages you playing video games? Is this “for reals”?

  3. You pirate!!

  4. Yeah, the guy told me that if I came back in a few days it would be cheaper. I asked how it would be cheaper since it’ll be “the same TMD disc that you have right now.” He didn’t explain.

    My esteem for that store has gone done the last few times I’ve gone there, and I think after this it has finally hit rock bottom.

  5. John B,

    Did this really surprise you? I kind of see it as “business as usual.” If they can get more money, they will.

    Isn’t this capitalism?

  6. i’m still working on convincing my wife that playing video games is a “worthy” past time. ;^)

  7. Worthy indeed. Especially when you’re talking God of War.
    20RMB? Wow that’s cheap. It’s too bad games are region are region coded eh?

  8. are region are region are region…

  9. If you know what “intertemporal price discrimination” is, you’ll understand why they’re charing 20 on the release day. So, they just discriminated against you, but trust me this is not racism. πŸ˜‰

  10. lianggongzhizhi Says: March 18, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    Well I am a Chinese student ,just as your eassy said our Chinese know how to thank people that had helped them. I wish you a good life in China!Goodbye!

  11. I like the way John’s post complains about the high price, and everyone else is just marvelling at how cheap it is.

    Saying “piracy is bad” has to be the equivalent of saying “ζˆ‘δΈι€” in Chinese. Exhoneration, while leaving you free to keep doing what you were doing before….

  12. John,

    Capitalism is charging as much as the customer is willing to pay. Both you and I didn’t buy the game when faced with the way over-inflated price, which just makes it bad business.

  13. John,

    So you think that price was just for you? I suspected that at first, which was why I didn’t buy the game at the first shop. But if my local shop was selling God of War 2 for a similar price, I was going to pay it, because then I could be sure it was the going price and not a game of “gauge the foreigner.”

    I asked a Chinese friend of mine about this. He works in the tech industry and is an avid gamer. He says this kind of pricing is totally normal for a much-anticipated new release. He said that he himself once paid 150 RMB for a brand new, high-quality three-disc Final Fantasy release.

    So yes, this is capitalism. I don’t think we make up a significant portion of the shop’s business.

  14. I didn’t like the original much, but there’s so much hype for the new one. Miss them 1-3$ DVD parlours. Well there’s always bittorrent. Now only 23123 more hours to go..

  15. Pirated games for consoles. Oh, I needed an excuse to buy an XBox or a PS3. Or perhaps both since the games are so cheap.

    Actually, today I saw a store that had XBox demos running on a 50″ LCD with tower speakers cranking out the sound. Even my wife (A.K.A. The Demon Queen of More Work, Less Fun) said that it looked very cool.

  16. God of War 2 < Gears of War
    PS2 < Xbox360
    John < Carl


  17. […] could lack of posting correspond to my recent acquisition of God of War 2? Nah… I’m busy, I tell […]

  18. I am living in guangzhou, I usually went to the gameshop and they charged my for 3 rmb for odinary game. And this time I got GOW2 for only 5 rmb……

    I like honest shopkeeper and yes…piracy is bad…

  19. Hi there John,

    I’m a Chinese guy too, hehe.

    GOW2 is awesome for sure. I spare my single-day weekend on it and it just more than worth it. I’m really thankful that I was born in this era that makes me possible to enjoy this franchies… LOL.

    Ya, piracy is bad… and for most of the gamers in China, the price would be the biggest problem – a normal PS2 game will cost you like 50 to 80 meals in China – I bet you know the contrast already.

    However myself, has been trying to support genuine games as much as I can. I just bought some PS2 the best titles from Japan, as well as acopy of Monster Hunter Portable 2nd – the PS2 titles may serve on my PS3, but the UMD will definitely stay in its box for the rest of its life – I felt that I really like this game and have to show my appreciation thru buying a copy. I would never use the UMD version cuz you know…. the PSP loads game so slowly that you would never want to experience.

    Anyway, have a good time with Kratos, and look forward to the PSP version. I’m waiting for a HK version of GOW2 so I can load it on my PS3. Cya πŸ˜‰

  20. shanghai man Says: March 20, 2007 at 9:48 pm

    well, i got the god of war 2 for 15rmb in 14th march. i complained about this price, however that owner complained to me about his wholesaler for a high……

    i don’t give a shit but i payed the money any way.

    btw, i ordered god of war 2 and its limited editon strategy guide in ebay. let’s say piracy is bad.

    finally, enjoy your life in china.

  21. MADE IN SHANGHAI Says: March 20, 2007 at 11:24 pm

    HAHA~~~WHY the guy want 20RMB?Because he paid 10RMB for these “COPY DISCS”.SO….he sells them at 20RMB.Usually,gameshop’s guys will say”OH~~THESE DISCS TRANSPORT BY PLANE!~~~SO….expensive.” DON’T BE SURPRISE MY FRIENDS~~

  22. The “DVD-9” selling point. Recall the selling point of the inferior quality “thin discs” – priate dvd’s at about half thickness of normal dvd’s, likely rejects and the seller was touting them as superior technology. Regardless, the pirate price is better than the retail market price.

    On the topic of economical media, the local Safeway grocery store in Walnut Creek, CA. just got a DVD vending machine kiosk that is totally automated. The DVDs are $1.50 to rent for 24 hours, .99 cents on Mondays, and first DVD is free promo ongoing now. I just picked up:

    1) James Bond 007 Casino Royale
    2) Borat
    3) Babel
    4) Stranger than Fiction

    Out the door was $3.00! All it takes is a swipe of your credit card, the return is automated, just pop it back into the slot. No paper receipts, either. And you get just the movies you want without a commitment to membership monthly dues. Sooner or later with Netflix or Blockbuster, you will run out of the new releases and will have to dig into the archives.

  23. FreeJack Says: March 26, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    God of War rules, but once I found out Guitar Hero 2 was coming to XBox 360, I sold my PS2. So I miss out on God of War 2. I’ll live. Sure wish my wife was as enthusiastic about video games as yours, John…my wife (a Chinese woman, herself) HATES that I play games and insists that I should be doing something productive with my time, instead. Bah…productive, schmroductive.

  24. Although I have my own opinions on piracy, I’m not going to share them publicly, since I am convinced I am being watched.

    But anyway, John, did you know that there are torrents for ChinesePod’s transcripts and mp3s? Does that make you proud of CP’s ubiquity, or angry for the few hundred RMB less in your pocket?

  25. anyone know where to buy PS3 games from in shanghai? looking for madden 08 preferably

  26. I live in Guangzhou, anyone up for Monster Hunter 2nd Session, I’m up for it

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