Saturday, November 7

World of Warcraft facing tough times in China

There's a war going on in China, this one is not on a console or PC, it's between two major agencies of the Chinese government. In the past week, they've traded a few blows, all for what is potentially a very rich prize.

On Monday, the Chinese General Administration of Press and Publication ordered NetEase, a company based in Shanghai and the operator of World of Warcraft to shut its servers down. The agency said that it had rejected the company's application to become the new host of the games four million Chinese players.

But not to be outdone, the Ministry of Culture struck back on Wednesday.

"In regards to the World of Warcraft incident, the General Administration of Press and Publication has clearly overstepped its authority," a ministry official Li Xiong, was quoted as saying in the Economic Information daily, a news paper in Beijing. "They do not have the authority to penalize online gaming."

The Ministry responded with its own swipe, saying it had the authority and it said NetEase was perfectly free to offer the game on computers in China. The situation it seems will be settled by the State Council, the Chinese government's cabinet.

This comes as no surprise, the online gaming market in China is huge, so different cabinets waging war to control the market is expected, but this battle between the two government agencies is the biggest China has had to deal with. Around 50 million people crowd internet cafes in China, revenues rose 50% in 2008 to at least $2.9 billion according Alcia Hap, a Hong Kong analyst for Citi Investment Research and Analysis. That is 10 times the revenues of just five years ago. IDC, a research company has predicted that annual revenue will reach $6 billion by 2013.

Sources - 1 2 3

11/07/09 Ernice Gilbert

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