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With the game offline in China, others aim to step in

As you may or may not have heard, the World of Warcraft is currently offline in China, thanks to a fight between the game's former licensee, The9, and its current licensee, Netease. Yes, if you think a day or so of downtime is bad here in the US and the EU, that's nothing compared to this: the game has been down since June 7th, and neither Blizzard nor Netease have given an estimate of when the game might be back online. An analyst from China does say that they expect most players to return to the servers once they return, but in the meantime, many players have spread over into Taiwan's WoW server. We don't believe that Blizzard allowed transfers during this time, so they've likely started and leveling brand new characters over there.

And don't think that other games haven't noticed this unique window of opportunity: there are currently millions of MMO players looking for something to do in China, and there are at least three big other games looking to give them something to do. Aion, which is currently in beta here in the US but is apparently up and running in Asia already, is making as much of a play as they can, and there are two local Chinese games, Zhuxian Online and Chibi Online, both developed by a company called Perfect World, that are also aiming to steal some of China's WoW players.

Very interesting situation over there -- imagine how much the MMO world would be thrown off here if WoW just completely disappeared for multiple weeks, if not longer. Blizzard is likely scrambling to get things moving over there as fast as possible.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Realm Status, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Expansions

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