World of Warcraft awaits China's approval to relaunch

The game has already been offline for six weeks as it switches local operators

The relaunch of the popular online game World of Warcraft in China, where it has already been offline for six weeks, still faces an indefinite delay as it awaits government approval for its content.

Problems for Blizzard Entertainment, the game's creator, started when it switched to a new local operator for World of Warcraft in China, online gaming company NetEase. New operators of foreign games have to submit the games for government approval, and China has objected to some of the content it found in its latest review of World of Warcraft.

The state agency vetting the game will soon complete the first round of the process, but the game will have to be resubmitted with some content changes to receive approval, an employee at the official General Administration of Press and Publication said by phone Monday. The game did not pass the first round of review because its content has changed since The9, Blizzard's former Chinese partner, last gained clearance to operate the game, the employee said.

The employee declined to say what changes must be made or when the game could receive final approval.

A statement on World of Warcraft's official Chinese Web site said the game had not changed from before the hand-over, suggesting that any content changes since its last official approval occurred under its former operator.

A Blizzard spokeswoman declined to comment.

World of Warcraft and other online games are extremely popular in China, where young males congregate in Internet bars to play them for hours or nights at a time. Local media put the number of World of Warcraft players in China at 5 million. The game has 11.5 million subscribers worldwide, according to Blizzard.

The game has been modified to meet the Chinese government's demands before. Skeletons added to the game in an update overseas appeared with flesh in China.

Government objections have also prevented the China release of Wrath of the Lich King, the game's latest expansion. The expansion twice failed to gain government approval despite content revisions, possibly due to elements like the "death knight" character class, according to local media.

World of Warcraft's Chinese servers have been offline since June 7, when The9's operating license expired.

Netease could not immediately be reached for comment.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Chinacensorshipworld of warcraftblizzard

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Owen Fletcher

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

PC World Evaluation Team Review - MSI GT75 TITAN

"I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it."

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?