The latest move in the continuing saga between the Ministry of Culture [MOC] and the General Administration of Press and Publication [GAPP] over popular online game World of Warcraft has led to MOC reiterating its sole responsibility for the administration of China’s online games market.
NetEase, operator of the game in China, recently made World of Warcraft available online again after a two-month hiatus imposed by government regulators which was originally attributed to the game’s controversial content. However, following resumption of the game on September 19, GAPP issued a notice ordering NetEase to cease operating World of Warcraft in China.
The battle has intensified this week, with the Ministry of Commerce on November 3 issuing an official statement that GAPP has no authority to administer the actions of World of Warcraft, and that its notice on terminating the examination and approval of World of Warcraft was invalid, given that MOC is responsible for the administration of online games.
To further emphasize its stance, MOC today released an official announcement of its intention to conduct investigations into illegal online gaming products and operations, asking local cultural departments to conduct investigations into online games within the month. The announcement noted that, as the administrator of the online games industry, MOC’s responsibilities include regulating online games and strictly punishing illegal online game products and operations.