Chinese Ministry Of Culture Reaffirms Role In Game Market
The General Administration of Press and Publication released a statement in early October indicating that GAPP preapproval is needed before any online game can be launched in the territory, and completely forbidding any foreign investment in Chinese operators of online games.
In fact, comments that foreign game companies "cannot control or participate in domestic game-operating businesses indirectly through another investment company, signed agreements or by supplying technical support" led to significant drops in stock price for publicly traded game companies such as World Of Warcraft's Chinese operator, NetEase.
However, a speech by the Ministry of Culture's Department of Cultural Marketing director Tuo Zuhai, made available online by Web2Asia.com, refuted what is translated as GAPP's "surly interference in domestic online game enterprises." Said Zuhai, "It is MOC's duty to ensure the long-term development of China’s culture industry, especially the game industry."
(Zuhai and colleagues discussed the conflict while attending GDC China -- which is run by Gamasutra parent company Think Services -- in order to meet with Chinese game companies.)
While it is unclear what the next step may be, it appears that both GAPP and the Ministry Of Culture are interpreting a higher-level Chinese Government clarification on online game regulation as giving them larger proportions of control.
Zuhai nonetheless has said that his entity will "resolve these problems through different channels," perhaps implying that further clarification on the issue will surface in the near future.