China and MMO’s

China is a topic I haven’t posted about in a while, so after reading Scott Jennings post up on MMORPG.COM this morning I knew I just had to add my own two cents to the matter. I’ve mentioned previously I’ve worked in the IT field for over 20 years. First as and IT in the Navy for 10 years (I was an Intelligence analyst in the Navy prior to that), then as a IT consultant for a Fortune 500 firm here in the States. Through my extensive experience I know first hand how prolific the IT attacks are from China. I see hundreds of them daily against Defense Department networks, and I also see the reports of the attempts at industrial intelligence gathering China does against corporations in the United States. As I said, they are prolific. They’re also, we believe, government sponsored.

For those that do not know much about China, they have been a Communist nation since the 1940’s, and have throughout their history been a nation that has often been out of control of it’s own destiny. That fact, more than anything else, is what drives China’s culture today. China has a deep seated desire to be in control of itself, and in today’s age that more often than not, means being in control of others. That and Communist rule make China a place with few rights and where the rule of law often means little. These “relationships” Scott talks about facilitate business deals the likes of which would get you thrown in jail in the states as they often demand “greasing the rails”. “Bribes” are an accepted and expected form in business and government relationships there and I’m convinced the battle between China’s GATT and Ministry of Culture over WoW has more to do with power, the growing MMO market, and of course money.

Companies like Blizzard that seek to do business there should think long and hard before doing so. And they should not let the allure of the size of China’s market dazzle them as China is not a westernized civilization that is deeply rooted in the rule of law. Laws and regulations can literally change over night, and for no other reason than retaliation against a company or person. China’s market is quicksand and no one will make a great deal of money there any time soon. At this point in time China needs western companies more than western companies need China.

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