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Microsoft Finds Legal Path To Launch Minecraft In China (arstechnica.com) 91

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Minecraft's PC and smartphone versions are finally coming to China. On Friday, Microsoft and Mojang announced the beginning of a "five-year exclusive partnership" with Chinese software publisher NetEase, Inc to roll the game out onto Chinese computer and smartphone marketplaces. Microsoft was able to publish the game on Xbox One consoles late last year, but those consoles have yet to penetrate the Chinese market to the extent that PCs and smartphones have, and the fact that even Microsoft had to license the game to someone else as opposed to launching it from its own Shanghai campus is a stern reminder of what roadblocks stand in the way of Western software developers. "The most challenging aspect of doing business in China by far is dealing with the government," former PopCap executive James Gwertzman said at the 2010 Game Developers Conference. Game publishers must acquire a combined six permits to launch a game in China, and most of those permits cannot be acquired by foreign-operated companies. Microsoft is presumably in the exact same regulatory boat, and its choice of partner is telling; NetEase already has a major Western-gaming reputation thanks to its partnership with megawatt game makers Blizzard. Gwertzman guessed that Minecraft will probably avoid such undue attention with its upcoming launch. "Minecraft is on the good side as it encourages teamwork and learning," he said. "I see Minecraft as the perfect example of a game that will receive public support [in China]." Meanwhile, American technology companies like Apple and Microsoft are undergoing security reviews in the communist country.
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Microsoft Finds Legal Path To Launch Minecraft In China

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  • Heaven forbid you forgo a regressive market or *gasp* hold on to any shred of values as a large organization in the way and places you choose to do business.
    • Look man when you are talking weapons or monitoring technology or something like that then yes, there are some real arguments to be made for denying access. However things like entertainment? No, the opposite should apply actually. Something that helps tear barriers down is sharing culture.

  • If only Huawei allowed to partner up with a US company to sell router/switch/LTE here in the US. Talk about government...
    • by ArmoredDragon ( 3450605 ) on Friday May 20, 2016 @11:43PM (#52153875)

      I think the reason for that is that this kind of gear is critical infrastructure gear, and Huawei, like any Chinese company, is ultimately beholden to the demands of their government. Other countries avoid Cisco for a slightly different reason. Cisco isn't beholden to the US government, however the problem is that their gear ships from the US, which means that there's nothing stopping the US government from adulterating it some time between when it leaves Cisco's hands and ends up in its customer's hands, and even though they're technically not allowed to do that, they do it anyways.

      • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Saturday May 21, 2016 @03:51AM (#52154367)
        Cisco is beholden to the US government, and doesn't ship from the US. My SG made Cisco gear never passes through the US. Huawei has never had a vulnerability found that didn't come from copying Cisco. It's Cisco that deliberately puts them there.
        • Cisco is beholden to the US government

          No, they're not, they're just beholden to US laws. They can however refuse most requests if they want, and even challenge the ones that are legally made. Chinese owned companies will ultimately have to do anything that the government asks.

          , and doesn't ship from the US. My SG made Cisco gear never passes through the US.

          I didn't say all equipment does, rather what was meant by my comment is that so far it's only the gear that is shipped from the US that has been known to have been compromised.

          Huawei has never had a vulnerability found

          Neither did Cisco, until Snowden leaked it, and if that didn't happen then we'd still probably re

          • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
            Cisco has been proven to have done all the bad things people say Huawei "might" do, yet still buy Cisco and avoid Huawei. Seems silly.
      • by aliquis ( 678370 )

        Slap on a troll face on the dollar bill and change the text to "In the government we trust."

  • Somehow this sounds bad....
    • It's protectionism (Score:5, Informative)

      by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Friday May 20, 2016 @10:29PM (#52153611) Homepage Journal

      Somehow this sounds bad....

      It's because China is using a protectionist practice.

      China wants domestic companies selling things domestically(*). If an outside company has a product it wants to sell, it has to license it to a domestically-owned company inside China.

      This forces at least some of the money to stay in China, paying Chinese people, and otherwise helping the local economy. It reduces the trade deficit somewhat and makes the Chinese economy stronger.

      Compare and contrast to modern American economics, which holds that "free trade is best trade", all the money from the sale of foreign goods and products goes to the foreign entity. The money leaves the country and no Americans get paid.

      (*) I was under the impression that the rule was that a Chinese company had to be at least 51% owned by Chinese in order to sell domestically, but that was years ago. I don't know if this is still the case.

      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
        China still has rules about ownership. So rather than putting ownership in the hands of Chinese, foreign companies license. Less profit, but greater chance for future profits, if the rules change.
      • by JBMcB ( 73720 ) on Friday May 20, 2016 @11:27PM (#52153837)

        It's because China is using a protectionist practice.

        Western scholars figured out the problem with this practice hundreds of years ago. Problem is - it screws with your money supply something fierce. You end up having to radically manipulate your money supply, and you wind up with deflation and endless stimulus spending. Japan did the same thing in the 70's and 80's, and they've been paying for it over the last two decades (stagflation in the 90's-2000's, deflation since then.) China's turn is coming up soon.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

        • The US also practises protectionism in many markets with tariffs and subsidies. Including many current cases which are before the WTO.
        • by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Saturday May 21, 2016 @12:50AM (#52154067) Homepage Journal

          It's because China is using a protectionist practice.

          Western scholars figured out the problem with this practice hundreds of years ago. Problem is - it screws with your money supply something fierce. You end up having to radically manipulate your money supply, and you wind up with deflation and endless stimulus spending. Japan did the same thing in the 70's and 80's, and they've been paying for it over the last two decades (stagflation in the 90's-2000's, deflation since then.) China's turn is coming up soon.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

          I'm happy to learn more about this, but I am a bit sceptical about your conclusions. (Not the least of which is the general religious undertone of economic schools of thought.)

          Firstly, the US is mostly free trade, and yet we've had to do stimulus spending for the last six-or-seven years. I don't really see the difference on that dimension.

          Secondly, although the US isn't in a deflation cycle, we *almost* are. Checking the monthly inflation rates [usinflatio...ulator.com] shows negative inflation for several months of 2015, and fairly low inflation for the last couple of years. Despite massive stimulus spending, despite the government spending trillions more than revenue [usgovernmentdebt.us] over the last decade, we're *still* not up to the generally-accepted-healthy value of inflation of 2.5%.

          There's recent evidence that depression and deflation aren't empirically linked, so it's no longer clear to me that deflation is as bad as everyone makes it out to be.

          And finally, your analysis may be correct but myopic in that it doesn't take into account other factors such as employment. The US could be in a good financial situation and also on the precipice of revolt. If enough people are unemployed and *can't* find a job, if enough people drop from middle-class to poor-class, then there would be a great deal of unrest.

          We're 'kinda seeing that now. Productivity is up, overall profits are up, but for the vast majority of Americans wages have remained stagnant. All the profits go to the upper echelons, so it *seems* like we're doing fine financially when in reality a lot of people are miserable.

          I'm not an economist, I'm only trying to figure out this stuff on my own. Some aspects of "current economic theory" don't seem to make sense.

          Can you explain why unemployment (or more accurately, the labor force participation rate [wordpress.com] isn't a priority in your analysis?

          • Here is one paper [nber.org] that talks about deflation and depression, many others can be found in a google search.

          • I'm not going to pretend to know all the answers, either, but a couple of insights for you.

            1. Economic theories are as simple as possible in order to make testable predictions and to make analysis easier. All science tries to make theories as simple as possible, only adding complexity when it is required. This is fine, the problem is when politicians make policy decisions based on unproven or incorrect economic theories.

            2. Regarding free trade specifically, these theories say it increases total net econ

          • by mentil ( 1748130 )

            The linked inflation statistics are from the US Government, which are widely accepted to be heavily manipulated (i.e. much lower than inflation for most things that matter to most people).

            It's possible that depression and deflation aren't correlated because countries which are capable of causing deflation monitor their economy enough to realize they should increase stimulus spending in order to prevent a recession from turning into a depression, or modify the policies leading to deflation. Deflation could s

          • by JBMcB ( 73720 )

            Can you explain why unemployment (or more accurately, the labor force participation rate [wordpress.com] isn't a priority in your analysis?

            Because, if your country is experiencing stagflation, your employment rate is going to be pretty darn low. Fixing that situation should be #1 on your list of priorities.

            There are, of course, lots of other important factors to take into consideration for a healthy economy, but if you are setting your economy up for deflation, that's the only factor that you really need to pay attention to, because it's going to affect *everything* else.

            Think if it this way - unemployment is like cancer and deflation is like

      • by Anonymous Coward
        The US uses protectionist practices in a whole range of markets.
  • to craft the tool necessary to dig through that firewall.

  • All that stuff is made in China, how has it not penetrated the market?
  • that bribes were legal in China.

  • "The most challenging aspect of doing business in China by far is dealing with the government,"

    No, no, it's super easy to deal with the government in China:
    1. Go out to drink with the first layer of officials; bring lavish gifts preferably cash or easily convertible to cash. Repeat step 1 x2
    2: Go out to a dinner with the next level of officials; bring higher grade of lavish gifts preferably cash or easily convertible to cash. Repeat step 2 3-4x.
    3: Go on a vacation trip with the highest level of officials; bring highest grade of lavish gifts preferably cash or easily convertible to cash. Repeat step 3

  • Game publishers must acquire a combined six permits to launch a game in China

    Not all that different from the US: "buy local", "consumer protection regulations", etc. It's, of course, all for the "protection of the people".

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