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NTES should Rally heading into Re-Launch of World of Warcraft back into China in 3 to 4 weeks or late August.

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July 28, 2009 – Comments (0) | RELATED TICKERS: NTES

World of Warcraft Inches Back to China’s Desktops

By Juliet Ye

From China Journal:

China’s pasty-faced warriors and wizards may soon be headed back to their indoor lairs.

AFP/Getty Images

Chinese Internet company Netease received approval Tuesday from the Ministry of Culture to offer the World of Warcraft online role-playing game, according to portal Techweb. The government agency’s Web site showed the game had passed its content examination.

World of Warcraft will still need an approval from another regulator, the General Administration of Press and Publication, or GAPP, before it can be relaunched. Analysts said that it’s very likely the game will be relaunched in late August or early September.

In April, World of Warcraft’s owner, Activision Blizzard of the U.S., picked Netease to replace a company called The9 in running the game in mainland China. NetEase and Activision Blizzard jointly issued a public letter stating that the first batch of game servers will be opened in late June.

But the game has been unavailable in China since June 7 as its operators awaited regulatory approval. That has led to grumblings among fans of a game that — as anyone who has stepped foot in an Internet café in China can tell you — borders on an obsession among many in the pixelated violence set.

On the night of June 29, over 5,000 Warcraft players logged into Netease’s Fantasy Westward Journey, another popular game, at the same time to give vent to their anger, which caused the breakdown of seven game servers, according to DoNews.com.

More went to the Consumer Association’s Web site to complain about the delay, leaving more than 3,000 comments, according to Southern Weekend. CCTV aired its own report on the issue.

To ease the anxiety and discontent of users, NetEase offered Web sites that allowed players to log in to ensure their accounts were still active.

Some noted that the delay might have something to do with the disputes between The9 and Blizzard. In June, The9 has filed three separate lawsuits against Blizzard claiming assets damage, commercial defamation and software copyright infringement. According to GAPP’s previous policies, in the event of a dispute between a foreign and domestic company, approval processes for foreign products will stop immediately if an intellectual property rights suit is filed against a foreign company.

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