China feeling Wrath of the Lich King Aug. 31

Blizzard wins approval to release second World of Warcraft expansion in recalcitrant nation later this month.


World of Warcraft

A significant portion of World of Warcraft's 11.5 million subscription base resides in China, but Blizzard Entertainment has struggled to get new content to those gamers. After weathering a confrontation between China's General Administration of Press and Publication and the country's Ministry of Culture, Blizzard said in February that it had managed to gain approval to release WOW's first expansion, The Burning Crusade, in China through its local operator NetEase.

The Lich King is pleased.
The Lich King is pleased.

Now, Blizzard has achieved the same success for WOW's second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King. Today, the Irvine, California-based studio and NetEase announced that Wrath of the Lich King will see release in China on August 31.

China's interagency posturing notwithstanding, the official reason for the holdup in the populous nation was concern over violent content in the game. Last year, research firm Pacific Epoch reported that the Chinese government had denied multiple applications to release the game in the nation due to a certain city raid event and skeletons in the game. Blizzard subsequently made changes to the game to comply with China's content requirements.

Even without China, Wrath of the Lich King has been a monumental success for Blizzard. Following its global rollout in November 2008, the game set a record for fastest-selling PC title ever, moving more than 2.8 million units in 24 hours--a record that still stands to this day. Wrath of the Lich King has only just bested the previous title holder, The Burning Crusade, which sold more than 2.4 million units in 24 hours upon its launch in January 2007.

Blizzard is expected to release WOW's third expansion, Cataclysm, later this year. For more on that add-on, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

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