Nope, not health care. Nope, not the recession. My white whale is the status of World of Warcraft in China. No, the game isn’t banned, per se, but Blizzard is having a hell of a time getting it back online. After switching to a new local operator, NetEase, Blizzard had to re-submit the game to the Powers That Be. Apparently you need government approval to run online games over there. And the Chinese government has a few problems with the game.
Nearest I can tell, this is what’s going on. Blizzard recently switched to a new local operator for World of Warcraft in China. As part of that switch Blizzard had to re-submit the game to whoever it is in China who approves online video games from operating. Upon submitting the game some six weeks ago, Blizzard was told that something in the game didn’t sit well with authorities, who are holding up the game’s approval until Blizzard makes some changes. No one knows what changes the Chinese authorities want to see Blizzard make.
Blizzard, of course, won’t discuss anything.
I guess it’s sort of a big deal, as far as these stories go. There’s some 5 million WoW players in China, according to local media reports. If we believe that number, that means nearly half of all players are in China. (Blizzard says there are 11.5 million WoW players in the world.) So to have half of your customers sitting out probably isn’t very much appreciated.