Feeds

World of Warcraft (sort of) returns to China

Officials send game back to 'beta testing'

Application security programs and practises

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. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
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
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.