The fate of the Chinese version of the popular game World of Warcraft is up in the air again.
A Chinese government agency, the General Administration of Press and Publication, has once again revoked the permit required to operate the game.
The regulators said that NetEase, which operates the game in China for Blizzard Entertainment (a division of Activision Blizzard), must stop charging players and cease accepting any new registrations for “gross violations” of Chinese law. It also rejected the application to create a Chinese version of WoW’s first expansion pack, The Burning Crusade.
On the other hand there is news that the ban was incorrectly applied and the game is back up.
The GAPP and China’s Ministry of Culture, which approved the game’s relaunch in September, are jockeying for control of regulation.
Both want the power to regulate the real World of Warcraft, among the most popular online games in China.
The Ministry of Culture said, “In regards to the World of Warcraft incident, the General Administration of Press and Publication has clearly overstepped its authority. They do not have the authority to penalize online gaming.”
The matter now appears destined for settlement by the State Council, the Chinese government’s cabinet.
The New York Times reports the Culture Ministry announced sanctions against 188 companies that it said were running unlicensed, vulgar or overly violent online games. NetEase and World of Warcraft were conspicuously absent from the list.