This story was first brought to my attention by Scott and Randy at The Instance podcast. (Love the show by the way). If i had the subscription to the New York Times that I am in dire need for, I would have ran across the story myself. However, admittedly, I am a HUGE World of Warcraft fan and was pleased to get the story information from The Instance. Let’s not forget this story originates from the New York Times. The dispute is between two Chinese Governmental agencies and which one will gain the power to regulate the World of Warcraft, one of the 10 most popular online games in China.
According to the New York Times story:
On Monday, the Chinese General Administration of Press and Publication ordered the Shanghai-based operator of World of Warcraft, NetEase, to shut down its servers for World of Warcraft. The agency said that it had rejected the company’s application to become the new host of the game’s four million Chinese players.
But by Wednesday, the Ministry of Culture had struck back.
“In regards to the World of Warcraft incident, the General Administration of Press and Publication has clearly overstepped its authority,” a ministry official, Li Xiong, was quoted as saying in the Economic Information Daily, a newspaper in Beijing. “They do not have the authority to penalize online gaming.”
The ministry said it had that authority. And it said NetEase was perfectly free to offer the game on computers in China. The matter now appears destined for settlement by the State Council, the Chinese government’s cabinet.
Last June, Blizzard Entertainment dropped the previous operator of the game’s Chinese franchise in favor of NetEase. NetEase shut the game down while it reapplied for permission from the Ministry of Culture and the publication agency. The ministry swiftly approved the game, while the publications agency lagged. In September, after the State Council issued a statement reaffirming the ministry’s authority over games already online, NetEase restarted World of Warcraft — and drew the publication agency’s wrath.
As Randy stated so simply, this scenario is the equivalent of an NFL team changing ownership and no longer being allowed to participate in the NFL.