Feeds

World of Warcraft (sort of) returns to China

Officials send game back to 'beta testing'

Boost IT visibility and business value

China's millions of World of Warcraft players may soon have a chance to return to the massively popular online game after nearly two months of government-enforced downtime.

Chinese officials will allow WoW to relaunch starting July 30, but only for previously registered players while Blizzard Entertainment makes changes to unspecified content found to be objectionable. Blizzard has previously been required to make alterations to the game such as covering skeletal characters with skin to suit the country's censors.

Blizzard is obviously willing to play ball with China because of the country's enormous population of players. Local media put the number of Chinese WoW players at 5 million while Blizzard estimates its worldwide player base is about 11.5 million total.

World of Warcraft went offline after Blizzard dumped its long-time local operator The9 in favor of its rival, NetEase. China requires all new operators of foreign online games to apply for a license and to submit the game's content for screening.

China's cultural ministry, which performs part of the review, has given the game a green light, according to the agency's website. However, the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) in charge of regulating print and online publications has found content it finds objectionable that must be removed or changed before it can be released to the general public. Blizzard will be required to make the changes and resubmit the game for further screening.

But GAPP has decided to let WoW open for "beta testing" before the changes are in place, according to China's government-run Xinhua news agency. Those already with accounts can play, but new users must wait until the game gets final clearance.

The news agency reports during the "beta" period, NetEase won't be allowed to collect fees on the game. It's unclear whether the company plans to take the offer in hopes of bringing back players who may have abandoned WoW during the downtime or wait until the game has the full blessing of China's regulators. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
Microsoft: We're making ONE TRUE WINDOWS to rule us all
Enterprise, Windows still power firm's shaky money-maker
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.