When Activision Blizzard CEO (ATVI) Bobby Kotick said yesterday his company needed to work on penetrating the Chinese market, he wasn’t kidding. The company’s World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, a blockbuster hit in the West, has been banned from sale in China by Chinese government censors.
China-based JLM Pacific Epoch: The government has rejected two applications by the second expansion for The9’s (Nasdaq:NCTY) licensed MMORPG World of Warcraft, “Wrath of the Lich King,” since China’s Spring Festival (January 25 – February 1), reports Sohu quoting unnamed sources. The applications were rejected due to content that didn’t meet requirements, including a city raid and skeleton characters; the submitted version did not contain WLK’s Death Knight first hero class, said the insider.
WoW game developer Blizzard Entertainment recently deleted a link on the game’s North American site to the site’s simplified Chinese version, said the report.
Where to go from here? Activision is recruiting firms to mange its brand in China, and maybe help handle the Chinese government too.
Navigating the Chinese bureaucracy can be difficult, but we hope Activision figures it out. For all WoW’s success, it seems unlikely the Warcraft revenue machine will grow substantially unless the company can break into virgin markets.