Hastings International and Comparative Law Review


Jason Ross


Nearly a decade ago an American online video game called Everquest swept the world markets and generated enormous profits. Since then a genre of video games known as Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games has developed. Capitalizing on the genre's huge success, Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft (WoW) has catapulted gaming to new heights earning over USD $1 billion annually. While the game is sold globally, Chinese players account for nearly half of WoWs player base. Keeping this enormous market has, however, been challenging and for nearly two years Blizzard lost its market access in China.

Using Chinese WoW as a case study, this Note examines what producers of foreign video games must do in order to gain and maintain access to the vast Chinese market. Topics such as the Chinese legal protection of virtual goods, a regulatory battle between two branches of the Chinese government, and a new (currently) dominant set of regulations are discussed. Ultimately, some uncertainty remains, but understanding WoWs trip through rapidly evolving Chinese regulations is critical to seeking some clarity in accessing the enormous Chinese video game market.