Chinese online gamers have been without World of Warcraft for a month now, thanks to a problematic handover to a new operator in the region.
Servers closed on June 7th and the game was due to be relaunched by the end of the month, but NetEase, the company selected by Blizzard to take over from previous operator The9, has said that factors beyond its control have indefinitely delayed the launch.
"We have met with some factors which are out of our control, the servers reopening will be delayed," NetEase posted on its WOW website last week, according to Reuters. "As of now, we don't have a specific reopening timeframe."
Yahoo reports that Chinese WOW players have been flooding onto Taiwanese servers, while rival game operators have stepped up their advertising budgets to tempt idle players onto their games.
NetEase is paying over USD 300 million over three years to operate WOW in China, says Edge Online. Although the WOW player-base in Asia is said to be huge - up to half the 11.5 million players the game has worldwide - it's less profitable there than in other regions, accounting for only 10 per cent of revenues, analysts reckon.
Nevertheless, a month of no service in the world's biggest market for online gaming has to stem the flow of cash into Activision Blizzard's coffers somewhat.
Although it's successful in China, WOW has had a rough time there recently, with the Wrath of the Lich King expansion still unreleased in the country after getting tangled up in government red tape.