China's General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) and the Ministry of Culture (MOC) plan to reach a decision regarding NetEase -- China's online game operator that runs World of Warcraft -- "very soon" Reuters reports. NetEase had its first run-in with the GAPP and the MOC in November 2009. Back then, the GAPP told NetEase to cease operations of WoW due to violation of regulations. However, the service kept the game running because the MOC granted NetEase permission.
According to the Reuters report, domestic media in China quoted several unnamed sources last week as saying an agreement between the GAPP and the MOC was coming mid-January and that NetEase will be ordered to pay a fine. The report goes on to say:
"NetEase, which saw two consecutive quarters of disappointing results, is facing tough competition from Tencent Holdings (0700.HK) and Shanda Games (GAME.O) as gamer interest in its self-developed online games begin to wane. However, analysts told Reuters that NetEase may have an ace up its sleeve and may release the eagerly anticipated expansion pack to WoW once the regulatory dispute is settled. 'There is at most a one-month timeframe,' said one analyst who declined to be named."
NetEase could not be reached for comment at time of press.