Blizzard Entertainment today announced that World of Warcraft, its massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), has officially launched in China. Players in China can now download the game, create accounts and experience the epic adventure of the Warcraft series in an immersive and continually evolving online environment. The commercial launch of World of Warcraft follows a highly successful open beta period in China during which the game reached a peak concurrency – the total number of subscribers playing simultaneously – of more than 500,000 players.
"It has always been a goal at Blizzard to become a major developer and publisher for the Chinese gaming market," said Mike Morhaime, president and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment. "We feel that China offers a huge and eager audience and it is poised to become the next great region in gaming. We are simply thrilled to be bringing World of Warcraft to this great country. With fully localized content, a regional network infrastructure, and local, around-the-clock customer support, we believe that World of Warcraft will provide Chinese gamers with an unparalleled game experience."
To provide players with an incomparable level of service, Blizzard Entertainment has partnered with local publisher The9, who it believes to be the most talented MMO operator in China. The9 will help operate and manage World of Warcraft in China, including all aspects of support. The9's dedicated team, composed entirely of Chinese management and staff, will serve as an integral part of the game's development and customer service efforts. They will assist in the synchronization of content updates, the delivery of player feedback to the developers, and will help ensure accurate localization to keep the game relevant and tailored to Chinese gamers. Furthermore, this local team will offer 24-hour support year around, with direct game master (GM) support and local call-center representatives dedicated to helping players with questions regarding gameplay and/or technical issues.
To deliver top-notch customer support and maintain a safe and secure service, Blizzard and The9 have implemented an authorization CD-key system for the official launch of World of Warcraft. This system will help protect the game from malicious hack programs that could otherwise affect players' enjoyment of the game.
Only players who have purchased an authorized CD key will be able to activate their accounts and enter the game. Each CD key costs 30 Yuan/RMB and can be purchased with a World of Warcraft Points Card. Point Cards also cost 30 Yuan/RMB and can be used at a rate of 9 points per hour (0.45 Yuan/hour) to play World of Warcraft.