Except for a last-minute surprise, Blizzard will stop operating in China and will have to close all its services in that country permanently. This will have a considerable impact on the accounts from the well-known studio that, as many of our readers will know, was bought at the time by Activision, which gave shape to the Activision Blizzard group (King is also owned by Activision).
At the time of writing this article the disconnection of the servers has already occurred, so all Blizzard online games are no longer available in China. This includes titles like World of Warcraft, which works under a paid monthly subscription model and is a real money-making machine for the American company, and other important ones like Hearthstone, Diablo 3 and Overwatch have also been affected.
Games that work offline have not been affected, but it is important to note that this is not limited to the provision of online services, but also affects the publication and sale of games, which means that it will not be possible to continue buying Blizzard games in China in an official way. Nor will new titles from the company reach the Chinese market, something that is undoubtedly a problem for Blizzard, since this year it plans to launch Diablo IV, one of its most important triple A games.
If you wonder what happened, the explanation is very simple. Blizzard had a partnership with NetEase, a Chinese company that was the one in charge of managing all the business of the American in Chinese territoryincluding compliance with current legislation and the location of the servers, in addition to the management of payments.
William Ding, CEO of NetEase, has confirmed that material discrepancies occurred during the negotiation of the key terms for the renewal of that association with Blizzard, and that Since they did not find a meeting point, that association came to an end.. The American company has not yet thrown in the towel, we can confirm that it is still looking for a partner that will allow it to return to the Chinese market, and has confirmed that this will not be the end.
However, despite these statements, the situation is complicated, and it is clear that Blizzard will have to make significant concessions if it wants to return to the Chinese market. I feel a deep sadness for the Chinese players, since in the end we are talking about millions of people who will not be able to enjoy their favorite games again, and that they could even lose the gains that they worked so hard to achieve. For Blizzard, this means significant losses, since only in China are there three million active World of Warcraft players.