The9 didn't have the best year in 2009 -- Blizzard decided to take away its ability to run World of Warcraft in China, and as a result, the company reported a Cataclysmic drop in revenues. But the company doesn't want you counting it out of the MMO game just yet: Reuters says that The9 has invested almost $15 million into the ailing Red 5 Studios (which, coincidentally, is staffed by some ex-Blizzard employees) as well as China-based developer Fire Rain. Last we'd heard of Red 5, it was working on some kind of fantasy MMO, though that may have since changed to an MMOFPS. There's definitely an MMO game of some kind; The studio told our buds at Massively that even with The9's help, the game will be aimed at a worldwide market, not just Chinese players.

Time will tell if The9 has a solid strategy to rebound after the big loss of WoW, or if it's desperately trying to invest the last bit of capital to keep the company alive. Red 5's work has always seemed interesting -- here's hoping this infusion is enough to get it to a worthwhile release.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.