Chinese gamers will most probably have to go to Hong Kong or Singapore for a while while their new operator, NetEase, fixes the problem and actually puts back World of Warcraft back online. That's right, the country, home to literally millions of WoW enthusiasts - almost half of the world's, in fact - have been hit by a massive roadblock following the turnover of operators.
Previous operator The9 had been replaced by Activision Blizzard with NetEase since June 7th, and since then, players have been unable to connect online. What seems to be the problem? See, in China, launches are not as simple as staging an event and making sure everyone goes home with cool swag bags. They need government approvals and licenses. A lot of them.
NetEase has released an official statement on the matter, saying that:
We have met with some factors which are out of control [and] the servers' reopening will be delayed. As of now, we don't have a specific reopening timeframe.
While analysts would say that this month-long delay in the relaunch of the WoW servers won't be too much of a trouble for as long as it resumes its service promptly, fact still remains that it's a catastrophe waiting to happen both on the game's popularity and profitability in the country.
This might be a stretch, and maybe I am thinking too much of it, but I say the timing for this delay is rather suspect, especially after the governments crackdown on the Internet, and specifically, on virtual money activities wherein WoW's gold farming industry is particularly popular for.