Chinese Urban Dictionary: Kejin

By Mia Li, October 23, 2018

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kejin / kè jīn / 氪金 v. to spend a lot of money playing a game, or on in-game purchases.

A. Ah that guy just killed me! I didn't do anything to him. Why?

B. Because he can. Look at all the weapons he has. He is a kejin player.

A. But I want revenge!

B. Then you better kejin too!

In case you missed it in the news, the global economy isn't doing so great right now. Trade wars, tariff wars and currency wars are no fun. However, another kind of wars are all kinds of fun, like World of Warcraft, Battle Royale or Clash of the Titans! Yes, we’re talking about games.

Researchers have discovered that the gaming industry does especially well when the economy is tanking and thus unemployment is high. Gaming helps us escape to a world where we have special powers, can buddy up with our best friends and conquer exotic lands, and have fulfilling lives. And the Chinese gaming industry is booming right now, with a USD100 billion domestic market and foreign ones too. Chinese gamers are willing to pay hundreds – sometimes thousands – for features and weapons in games, with per-user spending growing tenfold year on year which now brings it to 30 percent more than players in the US.

When you drop serious money in an online game, it's called kejin. To be clear, we are not talking about the measly 5 yuan spent so you can customize your character's haircut. Kejin is dropping one month's rent so your character in the game looks really fly, or has exclusive powers and spells, or even to take your virtual girlfriend out in style.

Those who defend kejin say it's okay to spend money to have fun, and virtual fun is just as fun, while those who don't like it say if you always kejin to take your virtual girlfriend out, she'll be the only girlfriend you'll ever have. More cynical players say that the ke in kejin comes from the word "lesson." Since jin means money, kejin means "lessons you pay for,” meaning you'll regret doing it but hopefully learn to do better next time.

If you don't kejin, it might take you months to get to the same level as the kejin players. The things you toil for, other players can just kejin and get instantly, just like in real life. Wait a minute… We thought games were supposed to be our escape?!

Well, at least happiness is guaranteed in games when you pay. Another round of Honor of Kings, anyone?


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