View Full Version : Blizzard, The9 face WOW player protests in China

March 8th, 2006, 17:04
Boycott threatened over poor service; meanwhile, EQ2 leaves Chinese market

Chinese players of World of Warcraft are threatening a boycott of the game over poor customer service received from Blizzard and local operators The9, reports Chinese news agency Interfax.

The enormously popular game, which has well over one and a half million players in China, has apparently been suffering from the fallout from its own success - with players forced to wait in hour-long queues before entering the game world, and unexpected server outages which disrupt play.

The issues aren't entirely confined to China, of course - players in Europe and North America have also reported issues with service levels in World of Warcraft, while Blizzard has constantly reassured the game's community that it is working to resolve the ongoing problems presented by the rapid growth of the in-game population.

However, the threat of a boycott in China is particularly worrying for the firm, since gamers there don't buy monthly subscriptions - instead, they buy game cards allowing them a certain number of hours of play, which means that any time they're not playing, Blizzard and The9 are losing money.

Speaking to Interfax, The9's public relations manager Zhang Heng stressed that the firm is taking the complaints seriously. "We should first collect data and evidence, and will work together with Blizzard to look into this accident and evaluate the loss," he said. "We will provide compensation to those players involved based on the result of the investigation."

Meanwhile, Sony Online Entertainment has announced that it is to end its Chinese operations for massively multiplayer title EverQuest II, which was being supported in the region by Gamania. The beta period for the game in China ended on March 1st, and on March 30th, all Chinese accounts will be moved to the US servers of the game.