Blizzard is forced to shut down most of their game services in mainland China as partnerships ends with NetEase.
Blizzard Entertainment will suspend all its video games in mainland China on Jan. 23 following NetEase denying a six-month extension of its initial agreement, the developer said today in a press release.
After failing to reach a deal with publishing partner NetEase, Blizzard has shuttered most of its games in the country, including World of Warcraft, Overwatch 2, and Diablo. The only Blizzard game that’s not impacted by this decision is Diablo Immortal, the license’s mobile game, which is being directly operated by NetEase under a different agreement.
Here are the translations for the press release statement:
"We approached NetEase again last week for assistance in exploring a six-month extension of our existing agreement, which is based on terms NetEase has agreed to in 2019, to allow everyone to continue playing without disruption and for Blizzard to continue exploring a reasonable and long-term path forward in the China region. Unfortunately, NetEase did not accept our proposal to extend the existing game service agreement following last week’s extension negotiations."
"For unknowable reasons, last week Blizzard re-sought NetEase with an offer of a so-called six-month extension of the game service and other conditions, and made it clear that it would not stop continuing negotiations with other potential partners during the contract extension. And as far as we know, Blizzard’s negotiations with other companies during the same period were all based on a three-year contract period. Considering the non-reciprocity, unfairness and other conditions attached to the cooperation, therefore, the parties could not reach an agreement in the end."
Translation was made by World of Warcraft site Wowhead.
The Chengdu Hunters, one of the teams competing in Blizzard’s Overwatch League posted a sad goodbye to the game that ostensibly the team and casual players no longer have access to.
In a statement to The Verge, Blizzard spokesperson Joe Christinat said, “Activision Blizzard is grateful to our Chinese player community for the passion and creativity over the past two decades. Our commitment to players on mainland China remain strong as we continue to work with Tencent to distribute Call of Duty Mobile as well as active talks with potential partners to resume gameplay for Activision Blizzard’s iconic franchises.”