Best Article So Far On Netease’s Problems Getting World of Warcraft Approved In China
- Posted by bbishop
- on March 9th, 2010
Century Weekly, Hu Shuli’s new magazine, has a great article on the travails in China of Netease and World of Warcraft. It was the cover story of the last issue, and the magazine has just posted the official English translation on the web site. It is a must read if you are interested in gaming and Internet regulation in China. I will have more to say later, but for now I will just add that if Netease had so much trouble figuring out the shifting regulatory landscape in China, how can Google expect to succeed?
Warcraft Row: An Industry Changer
A Chinese government regulation process for World of Warcraft is altering an online sector bogged down by dueling bureaucracies.
NetEase is a veteran of Chinese online gaming, with seven years of industry experience. So it was stunned when a seemingly straight development path suddenly descended into a dark maze after the company sought government permission to operate China’s version of World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, an online role-playing game enjoyed by millions of Chinese.
NetEase eventually succeeded. But along the way, the company lost a lot of money and had to play games with a pair of competing bureaucracies that each sought an upper hand in regulating the online gaming business.
Now more than ever, NetEase understands how necessary it is to play the government’s license game and the regulatory contest between the Ministry of Culture and the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP). The company also learned that good government relation is the key to winning in the online gaming sector.
And NetEase is not out of the woods. World of Warcraft is back online after a long blackout, but the dispute between the culture ministry and GAPP over gaming regulation has yet to be settled.
Moreover, NetEase is facing the possibility of another regulatory run-in, while at the same time trying to restore revenue levels as well as peace over World of Warcraft…
Go read the entire article.
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Bill Bishop is an American living in Beijing. He is bilingual and has experience working in both US and China. In 1997 he co-founded CBS MarketWatch and stayed until the sale in 2004 to Dow Jones. He was never a journalist, and instead worked in several business roles over the years, the last as head of the MarketWatch consumer Internet business. More »
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