The World of Warcraft has been in regulation limbo for months. Outside of China it is a staggering success story and it is fair to say that reports suggest it can lead to serious addiction. Now China has announced a ban on all foreign investment into its online gaming industry which is going to make life even harder for the World of Warcraft.
(Before we take this any further an explanation is perhaps called for. This is a multiplayer game which works through the internet. Players are typically in groups called Clans and use pseudonyms, so the writer would be Merlyn or whatever. As groups, you go on raids and fight some very weird creatures. Communication goes on during the game and is either messaging or, more and more these days, voice.
By and large the older generation criticizes the game as being addictive. Which it is. They forget that when they were young they were addicted to, say, LodeRunner on the Apple. Yet the pleasures, the addictions are the same. The difference is color and multi-user.)
A notice by the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) states that "domestic online gaming operations through joint ventures, wholly owned enterprises and cooperatives" are prohibited from investment by foreign parties.
Spong suggests this could put the brakes on efforts for Warcraft rivals to stay competitive using the global investment stage. Difficult to follow the logic of that argument but it will put a crimp in some plans.
Shanda Games has been trying to launch public participation. It will not happen in China.
Activision Blizzard has only just got World of Warcraft, back on Chinese computers after a seemingly endless regulation tussle that required the US publisher to censor its "unhealthy content". The company switched its joint venture to a new Chinese operator, Netease.com, Inc., but this could make Chinese authorities look at the legitimacy of Warcraft yet again.