Two Fingers in China’s Online Gaming Pot

October 15, 2009 -

China’s ongoing bid to monitor online gaming content and limit foreign involvement in online games within the country has spread to two arms of the Chinese government.

While previous reports, in light of the recent reassignment of duties, seemed to leave some unanswered questions about the exact role of each government entity in relation to online games, a Forbes article attempts to clear up some of the mystery.

China’s General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) is apparently responsible for clearing online content and games if a CD-key is involved, while the Ministry of Culture is now in charge of all other game content approval, including imported games reports Forbes.

GAPP was previously responsible for clearing all game content until September, when some duties were taken away and bestowed upon the Ministry of Culture. GAPP appears to be unwilling to give up some of its tasks, which has already led to infighting between the two government branches.

Chinese World of Warcaft Operator NetEase appears to be taking the brunt of the bickering, which has in turn affected its stock price. The company is caught squarely in the middle as it launched WOW in China on September 19 with Ministry of Culture approval, but no GAPP approval. An analyst told Forbes, “We believe this battle between the two government departments will continue to put pressure on NetEase’s shares.”

The analyst doesn’t think WOW will be shut down, but believes that approval for the Wrath of the Lich King expansion will be “further delayed.”

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