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Posts with tag approval

World of Warcraft: The Magazine needs a new Editor-in-chief

A few of our readers (thanks, guys!) spotted this posting popping up on the various job boards recently -- Future US, the company publishing the World of Warcraft magazine that's due out any day now, is apparently seeking a new Editor-in-Chief. Say what? They haven't even released the first issue yet, and they're already seeking a new head honcho? We did a little poking around, and it's true -- Dan Amrich, the man who originally held the position, has moved off already to another gig with Activision (though it seems coincidental that he's going to work for Blizzard's parent company), and Future is stuck seeking a new EIC even before issue one releases.

Does this mean the magazine is in trouble? True, it can't be good for the captain of a ship to move on just as it's heading out to port, but we've heard everything is still on course -- the first issue of the subscription (that quite a few people have already bought) is under Blizzard's scrutiny right now, and the second issue is well underway. Everything we hear still says they're aiming to release it sometime this month, but obviously if we hear anything else, we'll let you know. In the meantime, if you're in San Francisco, have a few years' publishing experience, and know a whole lot about World of Warcraft, we have this job you might want...

Filed under: Virtual selves, Blizzard, Economy, Rumors

NYT: GAPP and Ministry of Culture clashing over Chinese WoW regulation

The New York Times has brought its journalistic bear to the story earlier this week about China deciding not to approve WoW's release over there under new service provider Netease, and it seems what we thought was confusion between two agencies has turned into a war. On one side, you have the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP), who earlier this week said that Netease (WoW's local provider of Blizzard's game in China) could not legally be collecting subscriptions on a game that GAPP hadn't yet approved. But on the other side is the Ministry of Culture, who did approve WoW's content when it was run by The9, and are now saying that GAPP "overstepped its authority" by thinking it could "penalize online gaming" at all.

Which means that the silly game of World of Warcraft has fallen smack dab in between two government agencies lobbying for power. In the past, says the NYT, GAPP has approved games pre-release, and the Ministry of Culture has overseen games once they've started running online. But WoW is a weird exception (it has been online for a few years already, and only went offline when Blizzard switched providers), and it looks like both agencies are grabbing for power and the sizable fees that come along with regulation. If they continue to clash, it'll be up to the State Council, China's cabinet, to determine who's in charge. And the NYT says if that happens, the Ministry of Culture has the edge, with lots of friends in the cabinet already.

Meanwhile, Netease hasn't taken the game offline yet, apparently -- they still haven't been given official notice to do so. There's no word on how long this will take to shake out, but even China's players are tired of the fighting; they just want to get back into Azeroth and play.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

Filed under: Realm Status, News items, Economy

Wrath expected in China in mid-November

Because of all the chaos (from switched providers to government approval) on China's version of World of Warcraft, they haven't actually had a chance to release the Wrath expansion over there yet. They were planning to bring it out ASAP, but that obviously never worked out. But we hear now, finally, that the wait is almost over. They are still going through content checks, and Netease (WoW's new provider over there) says it has some more work to do, but at this point they're aiming for a mid-November release.

This doesn't mean much for us in the rest of the world -- and before you commenters mention goldsellers, know that most "Chinese goldfarmers" actually play on NA/EU servers anyway, and have been doing so even with the outage overseas. It does, however, mean that China's guilds and playerbase at large will finally have access to all of the content we've enjoyed for almost a year (the expansion was released in North America and Europe last November 13th -- remember that?), including death knights, the new Naxxramas, and all of the other Northrend content. The release should be a nice bonus for Netease as well -- they've been working hard to try and get the game up to date, and releasing the current expansion should help bring in a nice group of new customers.

Filed under: Patches, Blizzard, Wrath of the Lich King

Is China's WoW delay politically motivated?


I don't presume to know much about trade policy or international relations, so I'll just pass you this link to a story over on VentureBeat and let you decide for yourself. You probably have already heard that Blizzard has had plenty of trouble trying to bring World of Warcraft back online in China -- they've been waiting on approval from the Chinese government's General Administration of Press and Publication, which has already mandated a few changes to the game. Dean Takahashi at VB suggests that rather than being a technical issue, the delay may actually be political and/or economically motivated: the US and China have been bumping gently lately over exports and imports, and Takahashi suggests that Blizzard's game may have gotten caught in the middle. The GAPP, he says, may be holding the game back, concerned that such a popular foreign game might be released again on their soil.

Fortunately, even Takahashi says it's unsubstantiated -- WoW is likely to go back online in China in a matter of days, and the delays could just as easily have been administrative errors. But I do agree with Takahashi that it's worth watching -- China is cautious about allowing foreign manufacturers to sell to their citizens, and video games are no exception.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Economy, Wrath of the Lich King

Europe approves of the Activizzard merger

Regardless of whatever you think of the big Activizzard merger and what it might mean for World of Warcraft (I don't believe it'll hurt a thing, but think what you will), it's going to happen. It's literally official now, as European Union officials have finally approved the merger after several weeks of deliberating on the issue.

Approval by the European Commission was necessary because Vivendi (the owner of Blizzard and now the buyer of Activision, if you haven't been keeping up with all this) is a French media company, and therefore subject to EU business laws and antitrust concerns. Officials were mulling over the merger because of fears that Vivendi's ownership of Universal Music Group would give Activision Blizzard an unfair advantage in licensing music for games like Guitar Hero.

They finally decided that it's not a threat to the health of the market, and approved the merger. So there it is. It's done. The government can't save you now; Activision Blizzard is your new master. I tremble in terror before the fictional (yet somehow inevitable) Bard class and its l33t Guitar Hero skillz!

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

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