About this Blog

The purpose of this blog is for my personal use. It serves as my personal diary as I investigate Chinese internet/gaming companies for investment purpose. If you have any comments or disagreement, please give me feedbacks.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

WOW approved by ministry of Culture

My last WOW related post can be found here:

Sorry, for not keeping up with the post, I do have a regular job and it gets pretty busy lately.

First, some old information:

The General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) said July 17, 2009 that its content checks into NTES's MMORPG World of Warcarft (WoW) is almost complete. GAPP said that GAPP has found some violent content which needs to be revised but that this should prove no difficulty for game companies.

My guess is this will only be 2 to 3 weeks of more work before it is approved by GAPP.

But GAPP is not the only government agencies that NTES needs to get approval. Ministry of Culture's approval is also required. Today, 7/21/2009, NTES obtained this approval. See the following article:

The following picture is the image from the web site of Ministry of Culture:

At this point, it is pretty clear that NTES will start operating WOW within 2 to 3 weeks. This delay had nothing to do with what NCTY's law suit. This is what I predicted from my last post.

Finally, my last post had a couple of comments that disagree with my prediction. First, thank to the commenter for your opinion, even if you are disagreeing with me. As long as you don't resort to personal insult, your comments are welcome. Viewers are especially encouraged to view the comments section to get other points of views.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Approval of WOW could take another 60 working days

One can find my previous article on WOW below:

Previously, NTES and Blizzard had a joint statement saying that they will start to operate WOW at the end of June. Clearly, they are not able to do it.

NTES issued a public apology to Chinese users:

In it, NTES didn’t specify the reason for the delay. It also didn’t say when WOW will be re-opened.

President of Blizzard said it (the interruption) is not a big deal:

But the unknown is not good. Finally, the portals got hold of the relevant government department and interviewed the person who is in charge of the approval process:

According to the person (a mid level bureaucrat) in charge of the approval process, government has up to 20 days to approve the application. But it also has up to 60 days to inspect the content of the game.

I believe there was a misunderstanding between NTES/Blizzard with the Chinese government. NTES probably thought since WOW had already been approved for NCTY, government no longer need time to inspect its content.

Therefore, NTES thought it only has to wait for up to 20 days before it got government approval. Thus, it and Blizzard made the announcement for restarting the game by the end of June.

But now, it is clear that the (up to) 60 working days of inspection is needed. Maybe the government thought there are a lot of new content being added for WOW between now and the time NCTY first submitted a few years ago, that a new review is warranted.

What does this mean? It has to be good news to SNDA’s AION. NTES’s TX2 will probably benefit from it also.

But overall, it is a temporary bad news for NTES. But does this have long term negative effect on the popularity of WOW in China? No, not at all. As long as WOW is the number 1 game in the west, its place in China is secured.
But it does means NTES will have to forgo a part of the summer season to make money from WOW.

Two other observations can be made here. First, this delay has nothing to do with the suits filed by NCTY against Blizzard. This explains the complete silence of NTES over the conflict between NCTY and Blizzard. That conflict doesn’t affect NTES at all.

The second observation is that it is clear now that if any foreign game companies want to change Chinese partner, even if it is perfectly legal under contract, he will have a high price to pay. Chinese government made certain of that.

Finally, will the full approval process last another 60 working days? I seriously doubt it. WOW had already been approved and people of playing it for long time already. If the government disapproves it, that means it disapproves something it already approved before. It is a slap on its own face. It also won’t take close to 60 days to approve it. It looks bad on them for being so inefficient. Finally, they really don’t need that long to inspect something they already inspected already.


A test for now