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Warcraft back online in China 'imminently'

Authorities call for violent content to be removed first

World of Warcraft could be back online in China shortly following extended downtime when its operator switched from The9 to NetEase.

The General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) has almost completed its content checks, according to JLM, and the game should be ready to go live again soon. However, GAPP technological and digital publishing department director Zhang Yijun has reported some violent content found by the authorising body will need to be revised before this happens.

After NetEase won the rights to operate the MMO game in April, servers were scheduled to be switched over in June. However, due to factors said to be out of its contol, NetEase failed to relaunch the game and it has been offline in the region since June 7.

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Latest comments (3)

Mat Bettinson Business Development Manager, Tantalus Media12 years ago
Violent content in WoW? What next, Teletubby Massacre?
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Phil Elliott Project Lead, Collective; Head of Community (London), Square Enix12 years ago
It's my understanding that the new checks are the result of discomfort at the success in the country of the game. Wrath of the Lich King still hasn't been passed, and I'm told has been targeted specifically in a bid to 'protect culture' in favour of locally-developed titles.

Not what you'd really call a level playing field, but probably consistent with other business practices in the country?
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Chris Hunter-Brown IT / Games specialist, BBFC12 years ago
In the last year the GAPP (who administer online games in China on behalf of the government) have indeed been imposing more restrictions on foreign MMOs. They also passed a ruling last year which essentially means if one Chinese operator raises an objection or points to a dispute with a foreign product, the latter can be taken offline whilst it's "investigated". I believe this is why WoW has been offline because of The9's ongoing dispute with Acti-Blizz & NetEase.

It would be perfectly possible for another operator to do the same thing on a spurious reason if / when WoW comes back online and they try to get GAPP approval for Wrath of the Lich King. I think one blog at the time mentioned the phrase "protection racket".
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