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Posts with tag wow-china

World of Warcraft profits on the rise in China

Sister site Massively reported earlier today that World of Warcraft isn't just doing fine in China, it's doing extremely well. According to Gamasutra, the Chinese WoW operator NetEase just posted its Q3 revenue for the year, and the profits are doing nothing but rising. This is a little surprising given the information from the Activision Blizzard investor call earlier this month, which reported a loss of subscribers, mainly in the east.

Regardless, NetEase posted revenues of 2.0 billion Chinese yuan, up 39.8% -- a substantial number. In China, it seems that World of Warcraft is still a force to be reckoned with, dropping subscriber numbers or not.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

China is finally getting Wrath of the Lich King

It's been a long, hard, ridiculous road for Blizzard to get the Chinese government's approval to make Wrath of the Lich King content available to their citizens. So ridiculous, in fact, that it's difficult to nail down just which related stories are the most important. We could tell you about:
And there's a ton more to it. But we might finally be nearing the end of this sordid story, according to the Wall Street Journal. Wrath of the Lich King is set to launch in China next week, barring any more instances of draconian politics, censorship, or mismanagement. Let's just hope that nobody in China wants to play as a death knight.

Filed under: Wrath of the Lich King

Blizzard's Frank Pearce predicts renewed subscriber growth with Cataclysm, China

If you've been following World of Warcraft's published subscriber numbers for a while now, you know that we haven't seen a rise in WoW subscribers since late 2008. Blizzard's been holding steady on a figure of 11.5 million subscribers. But, according to Frank Pearce, Blizzard's Executive Vice President of Product Development, that's going to change.

When asked if by VG247's Adam Hartley if he thought WoW's subscribers had permanently peaked, Pearce had this to say:
"I mean, you can look at that number and if you look at some of the details around it ... In China, for example, we haven't even launched Wrath of the Lich King yet, and that expansion is already 18-plus months old. They're still playing The Burning Crusade there, because we're waiting for approval for Wrath from the appropriate agencies. And once we get that approval and launch Wrath in China then I think we will see growth."
Pearce also noted that "win-back" of subscribers who had left the game after previous expansions is particularly high for WoW, and that subscriber counts should grow when Cataclysm is released.
"Hopefully we will get some people back from Cataclysm as well. I don't think 11.5 million is a peak, necessarily, but there are certain things that we need to do and need to do well in order to see it go further."
Like refining the 1-60 game, an area many players have never gotten past, no doubt. You can read the full interview with Frank Pearce at VG247.

[via Massively]

Filed under: Blizzard

Burning Crusade approved in China

NetEase is finally approved to release the Burning Crusade in China, which probably means that they are accepting new accounts again. This is months after being caught in the crossfire between the quarreling GAPP (General Administration of Press and Publications) and MoC (Ministry of Culture) over NetEase's rights to operate WoW at all.

Now that they are only one expansion behind and with Cataclysm set for the latter half of this year, this gives NetEase time to get Wrath of the Lich King approved before they fall behind yet another expansion. In the meantime, many Chinese players have turned to Taiwanese servers to get their Northrend fix.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

WoW.com's top ten stories of 2009

What a year it's been for the World of Warcraft. We've had three big content patches, a BlizzCon, an expansion announcement, and perhaps out of all of the five years this game has been running, this was the year with the most surprises. A few things players thought would never happen (including faction changes) finally did, and we saw quite a few new tricks from Blizzard, both in terms of game features and in the way they run the game at large. 2009 was also a year of expectation: we thrilled to leaks and rumors about Cataclysm, and all year long, we looked forward to the villian that has been set up for us ever since 2008's Wrath release: the Lich King himself.

As we've done for the past couple of years, let's take a look back at the most popular stories of 2009 here on WoW.com. We'll start first with number 10, which also came as a surprise to many players, right after the break.

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Filed under: Patches, Fan stuff, Blizzard, Instances, Leveling, BlizzCon, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm

The 9 revenues drop by 94% after losing WoW

Former World of Warcraft distributor in China The9 recently reported on their third quarter revenues which showed a massive 94% drop Year Over Year. Their revenues were posted at $3.7 million, a significant drop from their second quarter revenue which was pegged at $42.2 million (while they still held the license). Last year, The9 reported revenues of $59.8 million.

Although The 9 downplays the loss, pointing to notable growth in their other licenses, such as FIFA Online 2 and Granado Espada, the impact of losing the publishing rights to Blizzard's phenomenal MMOG was more than apparent. World of Warcraft has a tumultuous history in China, with The9 losing the rights to rival Netease back in June, with rumors swirling about the change as early as April of this year.

World of Warcraft is currently in the middle of a power struggle between two Chinese government agencies, resulting in the suspension of the game. Players in mainland China have reportedly not had access to the game in months and there were numerous delays to the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, putting the future of World of Warcraft in the country, as well as its potential millions of dollars in profits, in question.

[via Massively]

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Economy

China's GAPP halts WoW review, calls collecting subscriptions "illegal behavior"

Just when NetEase was finally getting back to business in China (they were even planning for a Wrath release next month), they hit a huge snag: China's General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP) office has apparently halted their review of the game and told the company to stop collecting subscriptions and signing up new subscribers. They've also passed on the company's application to go into business, and have called the new subscription signups "illegal behavior," threatening even suspension of the company's Internet service.

We're not sure what happens from here -- an official from the country's Ministry of Culture has also said that the suspension of the review is "not appropriate," especially since the content under review had already been approved while the game was being run by The9, which may mean that it will be overturned just as quickly as it went down (and the game will be back in business before long). On the other hand, Netease may have jumped the gun -- they've been collecting subscriptions for a while, which they apparently weren't supposed to do without official GAPP approval (and we've heard before that GAPP might just want to delay the release of foreign games as long as possible). We'll keep an eye on the issue -- most analysts are saying that despite the threats, this is just another roadbump for NetEase, and they should still be back to collecting payments for the game soon.

Update: Stranger and stranger -- NetEase has released a statement saying they've gotten no official word from GAPP outside of the official press release. When you consider that along with the Ministry of Culture's comments, it seems that the government isn't quite sure whether they're approving the content or not.

Filed under: Realm News, Patches, News items, Expansions, The Burning Crusade

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

Stars wins August's Guild of the Month contest

It's almost the end of September, but we're finally ready to announce the winner of August's Guild of the Month contest. As you probably saw in the title of this post, August's winner is a guild that has become something of a household name for WoW players, being one of the longest standing, most accomplished raiding guilds in the world (of Warcraft). Rather than me telling you about who Stars is, I'll leave that up to Leonking, a member of Stars currently living right here in the United States. You can find what he wrote behind the cut below.

Stars was August's winner, but remember that September's Guild of the Month contest is still ongoing! We had a lot of great entries for August, and we would all love if everyone who entered last month gave it another try this time around. We're absolutely eager to her from new entrants, too! This is your chance to not only win a $100 gift certificate from Swagdog for some custom guild apparel, but also be featured right here on WoW.com. Good luck, and we can't wait to hear from you!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Contests, Raiding

WoW currently free to play in China, fate still being decided by government

The trials and tribulations continue for Chinese MMO players, WoW, and its new Chinese provider NetEase. IncGamers is reporting that the beta of the game is continuing - effectively making the game free to play for those lucky enough to be taking part - while the Chinese government decides if enough changes have been made, such as the removal of corpses, gore and other unpleasant parts of the MMO experience, for the game to get a Chinese relaunch.

Since handing over the baton from from The9, things have not gone very well. After an extended hiatus which saw the game's servers offline while the data was transferred over, the game is still awaiting the final go-ahead from GAPP (the General Administration of Press and Publication). The beta was originally supposed to last around a week but because of the delay has been going on for nearly a month. However IncGamers is also reporting that according to NetEase, all the internal testing has been completed and once the GAPP are done, the game should launch pretty quickly.

Filed under: Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items

WoW China hit with more censorship upon relaunch

World of Warcraft is finally getting back up on its feet in China, but it seems that it didn't do so without making some concessions to China's censorship. We know that when The9 was still in charge, they had to make multiple graphical edits to the game to avoid showing off exposed bones, such as altering the Forsaken models and turning player corpses into gravestones, rather than a skeleton heap.

Now that NetEase is in charge, they've had to make some changes to the game as well, though perhaps not as substantial. Potentially funnier, though. According to this Chinese website, severed heads and skulls have been covered up. Literally. Item icons that would show heads or skulls in other regions of the world are now bags, chests and crates in China. This includes things like Van Cleef's Head, and even spell icons like the ones used by Ruin and Improved Corruption have been replaced by bags.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

The Queue: Wherein Alex renames himself Nostradamus


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW.com's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

After a year of writing this thing, I've run out of quirky ways to introduce this thing that don't reek of veiled desperation. So screw the veil. Along with your question in today's edition of The Queue, I want you to write an introduction for the next edition of this column that I write, which will be the day after tomorrow. I will pick the best of the bunch to use. Keep it clean!

crusherkid asked...


"I've read reports that because of the servers going down in China that World of Warcraft has dropped down to only 5 million subscribers. Is that correct?"

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Humor, The Queue

China's gold farming ban not really a ban

The other day, we reported on China's recent ban on trading real currency for virtual goods, and it was hailed as the end of gold selling in the MMO world. Unfortunately, it may not actually play out that way. While this would put a stop to some gold selling, it won't stop all of it thanks to a convenient little loophole.

That loophole is the fact that their law has no jurisdiction over foreign transactions. While it absolutely can put a stop to these transactions on Chinese soil using Chinese servers and Chinese currency, Chinese goldfarmers can still happily (well, probably not happily) scrounge up gold on American realms and sell it to American players. Most likely, this new law won't have an impact on the gold selling industry whatsoever. The people being impacted are those crafting their games on a model of microtransactions rather than a subscription model. Developers, not gold farmers, will be harmed by this. A game like Free Realms is no longer a feasible option in China.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Economy

More Algalon firsts from around the world

The last couple of days have seen a few more 'firsts' around the world for Algalon, the supposed Destroyer of Raids. Premonition of the Sen'jin server scored the US first, roughly a week after Ensidia's world first. Their kill revealed two brand new drops from the boss, both of which you can see in the little gallery just below. Good work, guys.

In another part of the world, the infamous Chinese guild Stars (the one that moved to Taiwan servers to play Wrath of the Lich King) has downed Algalon as well. This is extremely impressive. Why? Well, Taiwan got their hands on patch 3.1 a full week after North American and European realms did. That means Stars killed Algalon in the same amount of time it took Ensidia to do it. If both regions received the patch on the same day, the two kills would have happened at very nearly the same time.

Congratulations to both guilds, and we look forward to watching the next raiding race when patch 3.2 rolls around!

[via MMO-Champion]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

WoW China transition begins this month, will be down for weeks

JLM Pacific Epoch, the source that revealed this whole WoW China debacle to us in the first place, has continued their ongoing coverage of the World of Warcraft situation in China. As reported previously, The9 is no longer in charge of WoW China. The whole thing has been handed over to NetEase, who is already running some of Blizzard's other overseas properties. The9's operations of World of Warcraft will cease on June 7th, and NetEase will bring operations back up late that same month. Yes, that's a few weeks without WoW in China whatsoever. Luckily, it's intended that character information will carry over from one provider to the next.

No matter how much or how little you play the game, you have to admit that WoW being taken away for weeks sucks pretty hard. Of course, the fact that this might make it easier for them to get Wrath of the Lich King may ease the hurt a little. We here in North America (or even the EU or Oceania) may complain about downtime and lag and server instability, but we should consider ourselves lucky that gaming is a relatively painless experience in comparison to what our Chinese playmates need to put up with. Here's hoping that WoW in China remains strong after all of this, and not utterly barren due to people fleeing to Taiwan's realms.

[via Massively]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

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