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Posts with tag bankruptcy

Rumor: The9 loses WoW license in China to Netease


The9 has been the target of persistent rumors over the last few months that they're on the verge of losing their license from Blizzard to operate World of Warcraft in China. First, we heard about their financial troubles, and then came rumors that Blizzard was going to ditch them. And now we've got WorldofWar.net reporting a rumor that Netease will be the company to take over the reins there. It makes sense -- Netease has been growing a lot during their history, and they successfully operate Fantasy Westward Journey, an MMO with a US value of $761 million, with 400,000 average concurrent users. They're already supposed to take over Blizzard's Warcraft III and Starcraft II in China, so Blizzard will actually be consolidating their properties.

The rumor supposedly comes from a leaked internal memo to The9 employees, which says that an unnamed company (supposedly Netease) is trying to pick up the rights and hardware for the game for a cool $22 million. The9 reportedly paid $73 million for the same capability, so they're losing twice on the deal -- both the license and the money they spent on it.

Not good news for The9 if it all turns out to be true, but maybe this means Chinese players will get their expansions a little sooner. Of course, a lot goes into releasing new content overseas (translation is definitely not a small part of it), but having a more capable operator probably won't hurt.

Update: Confirmed. Thanks for playing, The9. Their stock is down big time since the announcement, and Netease's is up.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

Rumor: The9 to lose WoW in China


Trading Markets reports from the Xinhua News Agency that The9, the company that handles World of Warcraft in China, is likely to lose their license as agents of the game. Blizzard and The9 have not yet reached an agreement regarding the extension of their contract, although The9 representatives have repeatedly tried to quell these fears. President Xiaowei Chen has confidently stated that the contract would be renewed in June.

An insider source, however, noted otherwise. Blizzard is said to have been unhappy with The9's performance over the past four years, and posed higher requirements in their renegotiation with the Chinese company. Recent troubles with the Chinese government in securing approval for Wrath of the Lich King hasn't helped matters, and The9 is facing bankruptcy should Wrath fail to get past China's censorship laws and negotiations fall apart. The online game operator gets 90 percent of their profits from managing World of Warcraft in China. The9 has refused to comment, only saying that negotiations have not been finalized.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Wrath of the Lich King

Chinese WoW provider The9 faces bankruptcy in wake of Wrath woes


We told you a few days back that Wrath of the Lich King has had a tough time getting approved in China due to the government's strict censorship laws, but now there's even more bad news for Chinese WoW players. As Sister site Massively reports, The9 has told JLM Pacific Epoch that they will face bankruptcy if the expansion is not green-lighted soon. The Government agency responsible for the decision says that they must balance the needs of the9 with the need to root out "unhealthy" content from the game.

The9 has actually already paid for the game itself, having secured the Chinese licensing rights for a hefty fee back in April 2008. Add to that the upkeep cost of many of the most powerful supercomputers in China, and rumors that many Chinese WoW players have either quit or moved on to Taiwanese accounts for their Wrath fix, and it's easy to see why they're is getting a bit cash starved. If the9 goes under, it's difficult to say whether Wrath can be salvaged in China, but we'll keep you posted whatever happens.

Filed under: News items, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

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