It’s over for Blizzard games in China. The studio has announced that negotiations for the renewal of its contract with NetEase, its publisher in the Chinese market, have failed. As a result, Overwatch 2, Diablo and World of Warcraft will no longer be available for sale in the Middle Kingdom from January 23, 2023.
Since 2008, Blizzard has relied on NetEase to publish its games in China. China’s second-largest video game company plays a crucial role in ensuring that all of the studio’s titles comply with the country’s stringent video game laws. But that partnership is now coming to an end. In a press release published this Wednesday, November 16, Blizzard announces that its games will no longer be published in China starting next year.
Indeed, the two companies failed to agree on the terms of their new contract. According to Bloomberg, the financial question was not the only source of contention. The conflict would also have arisen at the level of intellectual property and the use of player data. In fact, NetEase will cease all publication in the coming days, for all titles in the Blizzard catalog.
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Blizzard is forced to withdraw from the Chinese market
The Chinese servers for Overwatch 2, World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Starcraft, Heroes of the Storm, Diablo III and Warcraft III: Reforged will close on January 23, 2023. Note, however, that the Dragonflight expansion for World of Warcraft, very expected by fans of the series, as well as the second season of Overwatch 2 will be well deployed before the end of the year. Diablo Immortal, finally, is managed by a different contract and will therefore always be available in the country.
“We are immensely grateful for the passion our Chinese community has shown throughout the nearly 20 years we have brought our games to China”said Mike Ybarra, CEO of Blizzard Entertainment. “We are looking for alternatives to bring our games back to players in the future”he promised.
Source : Activision-Blizzard