Chinese Web portal operator Netease.com Inc. (NTES) said Monday it received regulatory approval to offer the latest expansion pack for the popular World of Warcraft online game in China and plans to start letting players download the software next week.
中国门户网站运营商网易(Netease.com Inc.)周一说，其获得了监管方面的批准，可提供流行网络游戏《魔兽世界》(World of Warcraft)的最新客户端，并计划从下周开始让玩家下载客户端软件。
Regulatory uncertainty delayed the China release of the expansion pack, which launched in the U.S. in late 2008. The new version of the game could boost the company's revenue by attracting more people to try the game and luring players into spending more time online.
Netease, which operates the game under a license from Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI), said in a statement posted on the World of Warcraft website in China that it received approval to offer the World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King expansion pack from China's culture ministry on Monday and from the country's publishing regulator last month.
网易从游戏开发商动视暴雪（Activision Blizzard Inc.）获得特许权运营这款游戏。网易在中国《魔兽世界》官方网站上发布声明说，其周一已收到文化部批文，可提供《魔兽世界：巫妖王之怒》的客户端，此前已于上月收到出版监管部门的批文。
Netease will announce a launch date for the expansion pack after completing technical preparations, it said.
The company also faced regulatory challenges over the version of the game now available in China after the General Administration of Press and Publication said late last year the company should stop charging players. The administration eventually relented and gave approval for the company to offer World of Warcraft.
The turf battle between two Chinese bureaucracies appears to be escalating, with NetEase.com Inc. (NTES) and the World of Warcraft game still at the center.
中国两大监管部门围绕网易(NetEase.com Inc.)和《魔兽世界》(World of Warcraft)的权力争夺战似有愈演愈烈之势。
China's General Administration of Press and Publications, or GAPP, said it had rejected NetEase's application to operate the latest version of the World of Warcraft game licensed from Activision Blizzard Inc., in China (ATVI).
According to the notice, GAPP also demanded that NetEase immediately stop its commercial exploitation of the game license, which it acquired when Activision Blizzard dropped the game's previous China licensee, The9 Ltd. (NCTY). NetEase was advised to stop taking payments and registering new game accounts, or else face punishment from GAPP, including "suspension of its Internet service."
GAPP acknowledged that it had allowed NetEase (through a Shanghai affiliate) to start closed beta testing of the game from July 30 on the condition that the company wouldn't charge players or accept new account registrations. But on Sept. 19, NetEase officially resumed the operation of WoW in mainland China, allowing Chinese players to add money to existing accounts and registering for new accounts, even though it hadn't received formal approval, actions which GAAP characterized as "illegal."
China's Ministry of Culture promptly weighed in with a response. Liu Qiang, director of the ministry's Internet culture office said that GAPP would be violating government regulations if it punished an online game company, according to this report on Sina.com.
中国文化部(Ministry of Culture)很快反戈一击。根据新浪网(Sina.com)的报导，文化部网络文化处处长刘强说，如果新闻出版总署处罚网络游戏公司就会违反政府规定。
In September, the central government attempted to clarify the respective responsibilities of the MoC and GAPP on regulating Internet games. According to China's State Commission Office for Public Sector Reform, GAPP is responsible for pre-approval of online game publication, but once a game is released online, it falls under the sole jurisdiction of the MoC.
中国政府在9月份时试图明确文化部和新闻出版总署在监管网络游戏方面各自的责任。根据中央机构编制委员会办公室(State Commission Office for Public Sector Reform)发布的文件，所有网络游戏都要在发行前获得新闻出版总署的批准，但是已发布的网络游戏则由文化部负责监管。
On Sept. 28, MoC officials again released a notice that said it alone could supervise the online game market in China. The document also said that the MoC would be in charge of punishing companies that operate online games without GAPP approval.
Last month, GAPP released a circular banning foreign investment in China's online game industry.
Neither GAPP nor the MoC responded to questions regarding the apparent conflict. NetEase declined to comment.
Chinese WoW players are divided over the dispute. Some are seething with anger. It's "really a tragedy...WoW players are the ones suffer the most....Who cares about us?" said one player on a popular local game forum. Other said they were taking a wait-and-see approach.