Protectionism at Work in China’s WoW Lich King Refusal?

Recent reports that China is throwing up obstacles to the introduction of World of Warcraft expansion Wrath of the Lich King may be economic protectionism at work, says techno-financial site Silicon Alley Insider:

Wrath of the Lich King still isn’t on sale in China, waiting on approval from Chinese censors who are nitpicking over "skeletons" in the game. And now it’s looking less and likely Activision Blizzard’s (ATVI) latest will get approval anytime soon — China is vowing to make it harder and harder for games like WoW to get the thumbs up.

Blame good old-fashioned protectionism: The Chinese Government hopes to make homegrown, Chinese games more attractive by keeping foreign games off the market.

By way of evidence, SAI points to a report published earlier this week by JLM Pacific Epoch, which tracks business happenings in China:

The [Chinese government] intends to tighten approval criteria for online game imports in an effort to protect the development of domestic online game enterprises and avoid the excessive penetration of foreign culture among Chinese youth…

The central government supports the export of domestic online games as a way to promote Chinese culture, and… plans to organize an overseas roadshow for domestic companies to cultivate efforts abroad…

GP: So, if the JLM report is correct, the Chinese don’t want Western games sold there, but would like to send Chinese games here. Sounds like something the ESA – which represents the interests of U.S. game publishers – might want to take up the U.S. government.

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  1. Deamian says:


    "The central government supports the export of domestic online games as a way to promote Chinese culture, and… "

    Of course they do, who wouldn’t? But, can someone tell them all we see now is a murderous nest of incestually organized Communist politicians exploiting and ruling it’s people with an iron-fist?

    It’s a real shame a country with one of the richest, oldest, most novel-like culture has turned out to produce one of the worst kind of rulership the earth has seen since the 1940s… So much ressemblance, save for one thing ; power is divided betweem a very select group of individuals instead of just one in power.

  2. Fenavian says:

    Fun fact: If I recall Newsweek reported a while back that it’s illegal for Buddhist Monks to reincarnate without permission in the capitol, or some such nonesense. A law against reincarnation. As a Buddhist myself, I find it rather amusing that they would go to such lengths for that kind of thing. So banning WotLK for something as silly as skeletons, doesn’t seem all too surprising to me.

  3. Conster says:

    We’re talking about China here. Show me someone who’s surprised by this, and I’ll show you a naive person.

  4. mdo7 says:


    The reason why Cuba doesn’t want to do genocide (maybe they do it secretly) is probably because of US have Guantanomo Bay in Cuba.  If they do genocide (in public), US armed forces would be bombing Havana and we would capture Castro and he would be sentenced to death.  (still waiting until Castro messed up his genocide, public knows and US knows and invasion on Cuba).


    Any form of Ethnic cleansing, mass murder done by a country, or any form of killing a lot of people done by a country is genocide.  Vietnam using political cleansing is bad, but not as evil as genocide.  Pol Pot, Mao Zedong, and Stalin have one thing in common, they were all communist.  Any form of communism usually equal genocide.  Cuba can’t commit genocide because Castro knows how powerful is the US is, USA takes genocide kind of seriously (most of the time).  If he does that, Cuba would be invaded and he would sentence to death.  Trust me I know communism, this government is just another form of dictatorship, totaltarianism which is nothing but bunch of censorships, suppresion of freedom, and killing people whenever they like.  

  5. Biochemnuclrad says:

    vietnam isn’t china or russia there vietnam is on the same tier as cuba, besides "genocide" isn’t the right word, pol pot, mao and stalin started genocide vietnam only has the political cleansing, which is bad too, but not a genocide in which millions or  hundred thousands are killed

  6. mdo7 says:



    Why did I put "except Mai Lai massacre", because I knew it was a US Massacre event, not the vietnamese event.


    How do you know Vietnam didn’t commit genocide? Did we knew Hiter was killing Jews before we saw the death camp, nope?  Did we knew the Soviet killed more jews and their own people, we didn’t knew that until we found out after the Soviet collapse and people spoke up.  Vietnam could have secretly done that and the world didn’t know of it.  Remember vietnam has a strict censorship on internet, there’s no way we could never find out about if Vietnam could commit genocide or not. 

  7. Biochemnuclrad says:

    Actually Mai lai was an american war crime, and as far as i know vietnam is not guilty of any gencides, just the usual re education camps

  8. mdo7 says:


    I agree with you shady8x.  Not only that,  You know how many people died when a communist countries were formed.  More then 10 million people died and probably rising.

    Soviet Union-Stalin killed more Jewish people then Hitler.  They could have committed more genocide even during the cold war at their own people.

    Cambodia-Khmer Rouges killed a lot of their own people.

    Vietnam-Could have killed people who did not want to be part of their government, I heard rumors there could have been genocides (not counting Mai Lai Massacre)

    China-OK, Tibetian monks, Falu Gong practictioner’s organ, and sometime their own people for no reason.

    North Korea-kidnapped South Koreans and Japanese people.  I saw it on History Channel that they starved their own people to death with footages of North Koreans villages dying in hunger.  Also, the UN had to get involved with this as I saw on the History Channel.


  9. dan888 says:

    In general, the anime is considered to be inferior to the game (even a meme on the internet, "There is no Tsukihime anime").  The anime itself is good, but it was a poor adaption of the game as there were better routes they could have adapted, some characters acted out of character, some important stuff of the route cut (not sex stuff, but fight stuff, not going to go into it here through), and some other problems.

  10. Monte says:

     if i recall there was also an anime based off that game… i thought it was pretty good. In fact i think there has been quite a number of H-games that became good non-H animes. Never played the H games, but considering the series the spawned i would say that their must have been some value to the h-games beyond just sex for them to become something like that.

  11. dan888 says:

    Also it is important to realize that there are good H-games with a theme that is not just on sex out there.  An example would be the fantranslated game of Tsukihime.  Every route has some type of sex scene, even a couple rape scenes, but it is in no way something that is just sex.   Here is a safe for work fanmade video using stuff from the game, with watching it I believe few would argue that the sex scenes are the main focus of the game.


  12. allen85 says:

    Whats wrong with Rapelay?  Have you actually played the game or any other H-game out there?  There are a lot of games much worse than Rapelay, in fact there are a few games that I’d say are about as bad as Rapelay that have been translated into english and are being sold in the USA.

  13. Krono says:

    I don’t think GP is suggesting we ban Chinese games. Rather I think he’s suggesting the ESA should lobby congress to pressure China about lifting the defacto trade restriction.


  14. Vake Xeacons says:

     I wish I didn’t care, but I feel for China’s gaming youth. They have to miss out on diversity and culture because of this oppression. This is also just going to hinder relations between our countries. Gaming is what’s bringing the world together; China continues to remain separate.

    Also, GP, I know it sounds like turn-about-fair-play, but I don’t think we should ban Chinese games here (unless they’re truly despicable like Rapelay); then we drop ourselves down to their level, and miss out on the culture. 

  15. Michael Chandra says:

    …avoid the excessive penetration of foreign culture among Chinese youth…

    The central government supports the export of domestic online games as a way to promote Chinese culture

    So they won’t let other culture in, but want to spread their own. Hypocrisy much?

  16. Arkiel says:

    /cough So, you ever get the feeling you could run a dictatorship a… a whole lot better than the Communist Party in China?

    First off, this has nothing to do with Chinese gold farmers. Those get onto American/UK servers just fine.

    This is about The9’s servers not having WotLK content. Since there appears to be no official throttling of traffic between China and American/UK servers (I’m assuming here, dudes, since gold farming is still an issue), what you’re going to see is a shift in China’s WoW players from Chinese owned-and-taxed The9 servers to Blizzard servers. It won’t be much fun, seeing as how character transfers are a no-go. But yeah, with a client so easy to modify, there really isn’t much stopping anyone in China from buying a bunch of US/UK CD-keys and getting their freak on.

    I’m sorry, but any effort of censorship on the part of Communist China just makes me dissolve into bouts of giggles.

    All that needs doing here is a heavy international entertainment lisence agreement fee tax, or something. Minimize the amount of money flowing back to the US as much as you can — which I’m sure is The9’s perogative anyway.

    If this affects the release of the Starcraft II series, there could be riots!

  17. shady8x says:

    You know what is the most offensive thing in China?

    The idea that democracy works…

    Also reading about Tibet or Tiananmen Square


    You have to understand. They are COMMUNISTS – this translates to dictatorship. The west in itself is offensive to them… Now they are flexing their muscles to see how they can keep everything they stole from the rest of the world while closing its own market to it…

  18. ezbiker555 says:

    Hmmm, mayby we shouldn’t share our games with them, nor should we take any interest in their games. No. I think China needs to relax a little, I mean yes, I don’t know their society, culture, and I can understand that somethings that aren’t offensisve to us might be to them. But China, can have better ways than just keeping us from sharing our games with us.

  19. Arell says:

    lol, I was thinking the same thing.  They actually support gold farms as a source of employment in China, not the least bit concerned that they break the User Aggrements.  And now they want to shut out Western games?  Do they think that Chinese gamers have the disposable income to support the gold farming industry?  I mean, hell, how many Western gamers are going to want to play an MMO full of Chinese cultural propoganda?  Besides the crappy play-for-free kind, that is.

  20. sirdarkat says:

     The first thing I thought was wow China is crippling their own gold farming community Rock On.

  21. Magic says:

    Interesting, but ultimately futile. "Western" gaming appeared to have firmly taken root when I was in China (Rui’an, Beijing, Hong Kong), I remember seeing WOW advertised on the side of a gaming centre, gaming shops with people playing counter-strike and even a Tauren on a can of coca cola. There’s no way they can simply repress WOW or other games, I’m sure Chinese people will simply pirate WOTLK instead and (hopefully) resent the government.

    I don’t know why China can’t just attempt to compete with Western games, rather than trying to have their cake and eat it. I’m also surprised since I was under the impression China was welcoming and happy to receive foreign investment, rather than closing themselves off.

  22. Valdearg says:

    Honestly, if it keeps Chinese Gold Farmers out of the games, so be it. China can sit there and refuse WoW all they want.

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