Banning Skeletons in Chinese Games

Early this year, Hu Jintao, China's president, ordered his government to start promoting a healthier online culture – a move that applies to games, too. The official press agency, Xinhua News, reported that 500 players signed a petition saying they would no longer participate in the popular online game World of Warcraft because the company that distributes it in China has changed skeletons in the game into normal human bodies. A spokesman for the company, The9 Ltd., called the changes minor, and wouldn't respond to a reporter's question regarding whether they were driven by the president's official decree. But one newspaper quoted an anonymous source within the company as saying, "It's to promote a healthy and harmonious on-line environment." That brave group of 500 probably won't carry much pull, either. The game has over 3.5 million players in China alone.—Gregory Mone