WOW's Chinese regulatory dispute nears resolution

Reuters reports Chinese oversight body will resolve issue with MMORPG operator NetEase "very soon"; local media states company will escape with a fine.

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Blizzard Entertainment's massively popular, massively multiplayer online role-playing franchise World of Warcraft boasts some 11.5 million users worldwide, and a significant chunk of that tally hails from China. However, since November, the online game's operation has been in jeopardy, after Blizzard's new distribution partner in the region, NetEase, became mired in a dispute between two regulatory agencies within China.

It looks like Chinese players won't be left waiting at the gates.

Today, Reuters reports that NetEase's travails may come to a conclusion this month. China's General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) told Reuters that a resolution and announcement concerning World of Warcraft would be revealed "very soon." Citing local media, Reuters reports that NetEase will be able to resume operating the game after paying an undisclosed fine.

GAPP had initially revoked NetEase's permit to operate the MMORPG due to "gross violations" of Chinese law. However, the Chinese Ministry of Culture quickly denounced the move, saying that GAPP "overstepped its authority" as it did not have the authority to penalize online gaming.

Despite the legal tussle, Blizzard confirmed for GameSpot that at no point did the game go offline in China. However, the dispute did impact the release of WOW's first expansion, The Burning Crusade. GAPP reportedly denied NetEase's application to localize the expansion pack as part of the interagency conflict. Citing analyst reports, Reuters notes that NetEase will now have an opportunity to bring the fast-selling add-on to China.

NetEase shares rebounded in a big way today. Having slipped more than 20 percent since September, shares in the online game operations company rose more than 10 percent to $41.66.

Discussion

33 comments
grnsuperman4
grnsuperman4

Isn't our own federal government currently trying to take control of broadcast radio and TV? There currently is a bill for it and there are ads against it on TV and radio. If they succeed will online gaming be next? In 10 years will we only be able to play online games that involve shooting bunnies with water guns and hugging cuddly animals? Pay attention to what Chinese gamers have to deal with, we may be in the same boat someday.

24k_Solid_Gold
24k_Solid_Gold

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

decoy1978
decoy1978

China is not going to kill WoW. The government there stands to lose too much money if they will just drop the game.

rann89
rann89

Lol, no way in hell China is going to get rid of Warcraft. You know how terrible that country would be if those people didn't have WoW to keep them busy? China is half Blizzard's player base, imagine all those people walking around outside, not to mention WoW is actually a source of income for several Chinese.

jazilla
jazilla

Blizz doesn't want to get rid of the chinese market. who would sell all of their gold with dummy websites for Blizzard? Who would sell all of that limitless code(coin) that blizzard has?

oneligas
oneligas

i will be laughing in ten years when the WoW is still the number one MMORPG online, it just can't stop and there is not a really legitimate competitor in sight for years.

eckolocke
eckolocke

@vengeancekael You do know what communism is right? >.> I mean, forget the fact they have NO control over what happens in their own country, but if they can't decide what game to play, now that makes me hate their laws too!

wexorian
wexorian

lucky blizzard if they will launc in china again from 12 million player wow will have 20 :)))). AceCometh are u not interested in killing lichking? :D

Vengeancekael
Vengeancekael

I really hate china's laws, i mean they're not supposed to tell the gamers what they should and shouldn't play. Go BLIZZARD!:D

rholding2000
rholding2000

wow . . . games and so much effort and trouble. WE all need to be a bit careful here, from what started out as a doss around with some electronics has seen so many political/license and other obstactle stop us all from having a plain bit of fun. Worlds gone mad man.

RockySquirrel
RockySquirrel

Lucky Chinese... playing Vanilla WoW all this time... I think that Death Knights ruined the game anyway.

AceCometh
AceCometh

I canceled my WoW subscription last month. I'll be back into it once the new Xpac is released. No sooner.

fredwv
fredwv

Poor Chinese still have to run old Naxx.

redguard117
redguard117

i'm guessing the chinese ministry of culture has quite a few players

Gen007
Gen007

its gonna be like the second coming of Jesus.

Gauzz
Gauzz

Just imagine all those chinese gamers without WOW and becoming mad... ufff i almost can see Beijing in flames...

akiwak
akiwak

WOW involved in legal issues in two different continents, none towards Blizzard.

joksterz78
joksterz78

holy cow, per share?? Thats...just wow! (no pun itended)

frazzle00
frazzle00

So i guess those Chinese regulatory agencies just wanted some payola :).

chibi-acer
chibi-acer

Hmm, didn't realize they still didn't have Burning Crusade. They're pretty far behind.

feliscele
feliscele

Man, I was kind of hoping for it to shut down entirely for a month or so...then Guild Wars would have actually been the top MMO type game for a brief period of time.

Jak_Napier
Jak_Napier

a win for the republic of China and their people.

UnknownForm
UnknownForm

Well finally Communism has done something good!

wolfyrabbit
wolfyrabbit

guess this just shows how profitable wow really is...

mariostar0001
mariostar0001

I'm not Chinese, or a WoW fan, but I guess this is good for people in both of the above categories.

RitterXplode
RitterXplode

I noticed the same thing, Harp_101. Take-Two shares trade for around 11 bucks.

Harp_101
Harp_101

Wow, $ 41.66 per share is a lot. Especially for a company I've never heard of.