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China to impose more restrictions on foreign online games

James Egan

We've mentioned some of the issues that China's licensed World of Warcraft operator The9 faces with bringing Wrath of the Lich King to market, and what this latest round of regulation could mean for the the operator. The government's newfound concern with controlling exactly what content exists in online games played in China may have an impact that goes far beyond World of Warcraft. Other foreign MMOs are presently operating in China, while others have their eyes on this growing market.

JLM Pacific Epoch cites (the Chinese-language news portal) Sohu, which reports that the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) will "tighten approval criteria for online game imports in an effort to protect the development of online game enterprises and avoid the excessive penetration of foreign culture among Chinese youth."

This report makes the situation sound like censorship wrapped in the warm blanket of protectionism, but is GAPP's growing concern over content just saber-rattling, or should foreign online game companies and operators be genuinely worried? The situation may be clearer after Wednesday, when GAPP will hold a meeting with online game companies and operators, explaining the new approval processes and import policies that will affect China's online gaming industry.

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