World of Warcraft is Back Online in China

After a two month hiatus, World of Warcraft has resumed full operations in China, where a switchover in local operators had been held up by government regulators and content changes.

Gamasutra this morning reported Warcraft's return to China, noting that Activision's switch from local operator The9 to NetEase on June 7 will have its costs. NetEase has had to spend 1 million yuan - about $146,000 U.S. - each day of a closed beta that has been running since July 30.

The transition and the downtime have been costly to both Activision Blizzard and NetEase. According to media claims, NetEase has spent an estimated 1 million yuan ($146,455.77) per day maintaining game servers for the closed beta it's been running since July 30 as a test period. That's basically $7.3 million U.S.

Further, half of World of Warcraft's global installation base of 11.5 million is estimated to be from China, and it remains to be seen just how many stick with the MMO after such a long absence. One analyst however, believes that because of the restrictions in the Chinese market, they account for just 6 percent of Activision Blizzard's revenues from Warcraft.

The holdup was attributed to enhanced scrutiny by Chinese regulators and some content changes, which we wrote about back in August. On that score, NetEase also reports that a Chinese localization of Wrath of Lich King has been finished and submitted to the government for approval.

World of Warcraft Restarts Commercial Operations in China
[Gamasutra via VG247]