Blizzard’s Games Could Soon Be Saying Goodbye To China!

Unless a new publisher steps in, the fifteen-year agreement with NetEase will end, and Blizzard games will officially no longer be available in China, one of the biggest countries in the gaming industry.


Blizzard Entertainment has had a licensing agreement with NetEase since 2008, making World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Warcraft II: Reforged, Overwatch 2, Diablo III, and the Starcraft series legally available in the country and accepted by Chinese censors. Diablo Immortal was not included in the list, as a separate agreement was made for it, as it was co-developed and published by NetEase.

In a statement, Blizzard said it had not been able to reach an agreement that was in line with the company’s operating principles and commitment to its players and employees. “We’re immensely grateful for the passion our Chinese community has shown throughout the nearly 20 years we’ve brought our games to China through NetEase and other partners. Their enthusiasm and creativity inspire us, and we are looking for alternatives to bring our games back to players in the future,” said Mike Ybarra, president of Blizzard.

NetEase said there were material differences in critical terms and cited data and asset protection for Chinese gamers. “We have put in great effort and tried with our utmost sincerity to negotiate with Activision Blizzard to continue our collaboration and serve the many dedicated players in China. However, there were material differences in key terms, and we could not agree. We highly regard our product and operational standards and abide by our commitments to Chinese players. We are honored to have had the privilege of serving our gamers over the past 14 years and have shared many precious moments with them during that time. We will continue our promise to serve our players well until the last minute. We will ensure our players’ data and assets are well protected in all of our games,” added William Ding, CEO of NetEase.

According to NetEase, there will be no financial loss after the agreement expires, as Blizzard’s games accounted for a low single-digit percentage of both revenue and net income in both 2021 and the first nine months of 2022. Simon Zhu, NetEase’s head of partnerships, wrote on LinkedIn that “one day when what has happened behind the scene could be told, developers and gamers will have a whole new level understanding of how much damage a jerk can make.”

Was the canceled mobile World of Warcraft project behind the souring relationship between the two companies?

Source: VGC

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Anikó, our news editor and communication manager, is more interested in the business side of the gaming industry. She worked at banks, and she has a vast knowledge of business life. Still, she likes puzzle and story-oriented games, like Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments, which is her favourite title. She also played The Sims 3, but after accidentally killing a whole sim family, swore not to play it again. (For our office address, email and phone number check out our IMPRESSUM)

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