Can Peacekeeper Elite make educational gaming cool?

Building on the recent success of its campus-themed metaverse Oasis College, Peacekeeper Elite is now bringing Beijing’s Temple of Heaven to its digital community.

From May 24, players can check out the digitalised version of the World Heritage site within Oasis World – Peacekeeper’s metaverse where players explore and socialise. There they can learn more about the history and preservation of the site with the help of architecture expert Professor Liu Su and digital spokesperson Ji Li.

Players can also tend ancient trees in the Temple of Heaven garden, ring the ceremonial chimes, and perform a prayer dance, all while interacting with fellow players in the spectacular digital scenery.

As a multiplayer game, social interaction is part of Peacekeeper Elite’s DNA. In its classic version, Peacekeeper Elite is an online battle royale game where up to a hundred players fight to be the last remaining survivor on a deserted island. Its metaverse iteration, Oasis World, makes interaction and spatial exploration the focus of gameplay, with the combat element removed.

Targeting its young fans, Peacekeeper previously teamed up with universities for an augmented reality campus, bringing the student bodies and buildings of four different universities together in the virtual space.

As the latest real-life location to be added to Oasis World, the digital Temple of Heaven was met with mixed reactions on China’s microblogging hub Weibo. Many commenters were not impressed with cultural heritage being made the focus of their gaming escapism, calling it “boring” and ridiculing its “positive energy” – a euphemism for government-prescribed uplifting and patriotic themes in the media.

However, others said they hope more cultural landmarks will be included in Oasis World and saw the collaboration as an effective way to educate young people on cultural heritage. Some Peacekeeper Elite veterans said they had no interest in any of the Oasis World add-ons and simply wish to stick to classic combat-focussed gameplay.

The latest addition to Oasis World reflects Tencent’s recent pledge to support the preservation of cultural heritage. Educating players on Chinese culture and science is one key criterion regulators now look for amid tighter control of game licensing. The novelty of the metaverse may enable Chinese game developers to package educational content in a way that appeals to players, but netizens’ reaction to the digital Temple of Heaven underscores that the route to success is far from obvious.  


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