World of Warcraft is Holding Netease Back

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Sad Panda: Even Mists of Pandaria hasn’t helped bolster flagging interest in World of Warcraft.

Oh, how times have changed! Just a few years ago, World of Warcraft was the world’s premier MMORPG, and Chinese game publishers fought tooth and nail over who would get the rights to operate the game in China. And while the game is still extremely popular these days, Netease’s latest quarterly financials reveal a company whose internally-developed games are taking off, but whose financial development is being held back by sliding revenue from World of Warcraft as subscriber numbers decrease.

This is especially interesting given that Blizzard just launched the new China-themed expansion Mists of Pandaria. Netease’s quarterly press release says the company believes this expansion is “being widely embraced” by the Chinese gaming community, but it also admits that decreased revenue from WoW is one of the main reasons for the company’s lower-than-expected growth this quarter. Netease-developed games that are raking in the dough include Fantasy Westward Journey, Westward Journey Online II, Kung Fu Master, and Soul of the Fighter.

Of course, World of Warcraft subscriptions were bound to start dropping sometime; after all, the game is nearly a decade old. In modern gaming terms, that is absolutely ancient. Blizzard is working on a new MMORPG codenamed “project Titan” that Netease is likely to get the China rights to, but given that almost nothing is known about that game and that Blizzard is famous for extensive delays, it’s not likely to be seen in China anytime soon. (Plus, games are often delayed even further in China — the country still doesn’t even have Diablo 3 yet!)

[QQ Tech via TechWeb]

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