World of Warcraft Told to Cease Operations in China by GAPP
World of Warcraft, possibly better know as WoW to all the fan-boys out there, the world's most prolific massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) with over 11.5 million paid subscriptions, has been told to cease operations in China by the nation's General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP). The game launched in China merely 2 months ago in September 2009, but already it appears that the GAPP office has mandated NetEase, the internet company that acquired the Chinese rights to Activision Blizzard's wildly popular MMORPG, to stop both collecting subscriptions and signing up new accounts. The administration deemed NetEase's continuing account signups as "illegal behavior," going so far as to threaten suspension of the company's internet service.
After Activision Blizzard repudiated their former Chinese licensee, The9, and switched over to NetEase, GAPP granted the new acquiree the rights to start testing the game starting on July 30, 2009 so long as NetEase was congruent with their sanction of not charging members and admitting new players accounts. But on September 19, NetEase began implementing membership fees and opening registration to new players prior to receiving formal approval from GAPP.
But the plot thickens as an official from the country's Ministry of Culture stated the game's suspension of review was "not appropriate" as the game was approved while licensed with The9. Regardless of NetEase's actions, analysts assert that the halt will be rescinded and the game will be back online in no time.
WoW fans in China are far from happy with the situation, protesting that the players are the victims and yet they have no say in the issue.
Oh, what a tangled web weave: in a statement released by NetEase the company alleged that they have yet to receive an official word from GAPP beyond the official press release.
What do you think? Is the Chinese government contradicting itself in their vying comments or should World of Warcraft be barred for their new licensee's flagrant disobedience.