Iranian players of the popular online multiplayer franchise World of Warcraft have expressed their anger at being unable to play the game due to US sanctions in place against the Islamic republic.
Game enthusiasts have gone on to the message board of the US company behind the game, Blizzard Activision, to complain about how they could not log on to the service – only to be told that US law was to blame.
“United States trade restrictions and economic sanction laws prohibit Blizzard from doing business with residents of certain nations, including Iran,” the company said in an email sent to players.
“Blizzard tightened up its procedures to ensure compliance with these laws, and players connecting from the affected nations are restricted from access to Blizzard games and services.”
A post to Blizzard’s message board by a company employee also noted that rules meant Iranian players would not be getting refunds.
End of a virtual party. There.com closing down
There.com, a .net pioneer and one of the first 3D virtual worlds is about to close down. The internet company reported that whilst membership has been growing recently, there has been a marked decreased in revenue.
But, at the end of the day, we can’t cure the recession, and at some point we have to stop writing checks to keep the (virtual) world open. There’s nothing more we would like to avoid (than) this, but There is a business, and a business that can’t support itself doesn’t work. Before the recession hit, we were incredibly confident and all indicators were “directionally correct” and we had every reason to believe growth would continue. But, as many of you know personally, the downturn has been prolonged and severe, and ultimately pervasive.
(You couldn’t have been more forthright than that!)
Which leads us to Blizzard’s more latest corporate warning. According to reports, the Warcraft publisher’s advising against false confidence amongst its flocks (READ: Investors). “If consumer demand for World of Warcraft games declines and we have not introduced new MMORPG or other products that replace World of Warcraft ‘s potentially decreasing revenue, or added other sources of revenue, our financial condition could suffer,” admitted the game publisher.
The warning comes despite Blizzard actually generating $939 million of “MMORPG” revenue for the nine months ending on September 30, 2009.
For the myriad fans, Activision-Blizzard also reiterated the need to “refresh World of Warcraft or develop new MMORPG products.”
China Approves Burning Crusade
Warcraft’s Burning Crusade expansion pack will soon be available in Chinese stores this year. MSN reported this week:
(Netease) announces its affiliated company, Shanghai EaseNet Network Technology Limited, has received approval from the General Administration of Press and Publication of the PRC government for World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, an expansion of World of Warcraft.
A more low profile bid by Warcraft publisher Blizzard and Netease, its Chinese provider, helped the deal along to a winning close. The Chinese rejection of World of Warcraft last year was a highly publicized one, as the nation tightened its online censorship rules. Fans in China will no doubt be happy with the final decision.
This landmark deal could potentially be a harbinger to aspiring companies wishing to penetrate the enormous Asian gaming market.
Here’s something for the archives:
BEIJING — When the online fantasy game “World of Warcraft” was yanked from China last year because of a bureaucratic turf battle, the millions of Chinese players were outraged.
An online chat session to discuss the problem attracted 32,000 indignant gamers. Tens of thousands filed complaints with China’s consumer rights agency – in one day. An Internet addiction expert who defended the shutdown on national television found himself bombarded with angry phone calls and death threats.
But there’s been little evidence of similar popular protest since online giant Google said it might shut down its google.cn search engine and cease operations in China. In fact, many of the country’s 384 million Internet users appear to greet the news with little more a shrug. Read more…
World of Warcraft has integrity as an online game, it’s viable and I doubt its parent company likes playing politics that much! Google’s enigmatic exit is cluttered with the absurd. No wonder the Chinese netizen just shrugged off the news.
The Chinese has misread the game (WoW) and their consumers for something else. By playing the ‘as usual’, the Chinese censors has made a jester of an otherwise reasonable and competent (online) authority. As for the Google farce– perhaps changing your motto to ‘Don’t be Zealous’ would make simpler drawing 338 million* internet users to your massive brand.
World of Warcraft in China. (c) Digitalbattle.com
* An estimated 338 million online users are based in China. 320 million have broadband access.
This little story has it all– contemporary, love that conquers all, and of course happy ending.
Today a new married couple posted on the World of Warcraft forums from Blizzard today, and they have a message of thanks to give to the popular MMO creator. Israeli-born Avlee and British born Erandel met virtually on the MMORPG on August 3rd, 2006. Avlee was touched by the appreciation of beauty that Erandel had for Dalaran Dome, a effected created by “residue from the magic dome”. Very recently the couple got married after living with each other for a year. Read more…
We’ve heard of Warcraft (OK online games in particular) being the leg of many things in the past– morbid obesity, online scams, marital break-ups, violence, etc. But then there’s this that knots something good with our favourite online game. Congratulations to the newly wed couple!
USA Today asked some video game insiders to name five favourite games of the ‘decade’. So far, three people interviewed nominated World of Warcraft as the definitive MMORPG of the noughties.
Morgan Webb, co-host of G4 show X-Play:
World of Warcraft (2004). The MMORPG by which all others are judged, World of Warcraft took a niche genre and launched it to center stage with 11 million customers paying Blizzard a monthly fee to enter their world of Orcs, Goblins, and Dragons.
Peter Molyneux, creative director of European studios for Microsoft Game Studios; co-founder of Lionhead Studios:
World of Warcraft (2004). Not so much a game as a lifestyle. When playing WoW, the rest of the world seemed to go dim.
Andy McNamara, editor-in-chief of Game Informer magazine:
World of Warcraft (2004). You never quite know what to expect when you log into Blizzard’s colorful massively multiplayer game, which is why I find the game so engaging. It’s always finding ways to make the game better than it was the year before.
With such flattering remarks, who needs PR grads to market your game. And naturally if you haven’t heard of WoW yet, where have you been in the past five years?
Icecrown Citadel, 25-man Raid
Our first post for the year, and sorry to keep you waiting. During the past few weeks, the spotlight on online gaming has been tremendously active. From the strange (World of Warcraft busts fugitive) and the eccentric (Next Top Model winner plays Warcraft), to the cerebral (Why Playing in the virtual world has an awful lot to teach children and WSJ’s How Everybody Got Game; both book reviews!).
As a brand, World of Warcraft is indeed proving itself as competitive and irresistible. Of course, for the zealous gamer– it is the game. As one of the articles commented above:
Visit any website devoted to hosting player discussions of games like World of Warcraft, for instance, and you’ll find not hundreds but tens of thousands of comments flying between players who debate every aspect of the game, from weapon-hit percentages to mathematical analyses of the most efficient sequence in which to use a character’s abilities. It will range from the sublime to the ridiculous, and will be riddled with private codes, slang, trolls, flames, and everything else the internet so excels at delivering.
What you’ll find above all, though, is a love of discussion almost for its own sake; and an immensely broad and well-informed range of critical analyses. It’s not unknown for doctors of economics or maths to wade into the fray – and find themselves bested by other still more meticulous chains of gamer reasoning.
Well, that’s Wow for you!
Now, here’s a shortlist of World of Wacraft milestones since it started more than 5 years ago.
- November 2004, game released on the 10th anniversary of the Warcraft series
- February 2005, Wow launches in Europe
- August 2005, game surpasses 1 million customer in N. America. Reaches 4.5 million worldwide
- November 2005, Wow launches in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao
- January 2007, First expansion to the game, Burning Crusade, released. Now, it’s the second fastest selling PC game of all time
- November 2008, Wrath of the Lich King released, making it the fastest selling PC game in history
- December 2008, Wow hits 11.5 million subscribers
- July 2009, Blizzard Entertainment and Legendary Pictures to produce Warcraft movie. Sam Raimi announced as film’s director.
- November 2009, game celebrates 5th year anniversary (15 years for Warcraft series)