China will remain without World of Warcraft StarCraft Overwatch and
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China will remain without World of Warcraft, StarCraft, Overwatch and the most important Diablo – Blizzard and NetEase could not agree

American BlizzardEntertainment and Chinese NetEase announced that they had not agreed to renew the license agreement under which games from the Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo, Overwatch and other series have been published in China since 2008.

    Image Credit: Blizzard Entertainment

Image Credit: Blizzard Entertainment

The current contract ends on January 23, 2023. On the same day, World of Warcraft, Warcraft III: Reforged, Hearthstone, Overwatch 2, Diablo III, Heroes of the Storm, and StarCraft will cease operations in China.

Blizzard game sales in China are suspended “in the coming days”However, World of Warcraft: Dragonflight (November 28), Hearthstone: March of the Lich King (December 6), and Overwatch Season 2 (December 6) will all go ahead as planned.

According to NetEase, the share of Blizzard-licensed games in the company’s sales for 2021 and the first nine months of 2022 has not exceeded a few percent, so the expiration of licenses will not have a significant impact on financial results.

    Diablo Immortal, created in partnership with Tencent, will not be affected by the end of the agreement with NetEase

Diablo Immortal, created in partnership with Tencent, will not be affected by the end of the agreement with NetEase

How it transfers Bloomberg Citing their whistleblowers, among the reasons that prevented Blizzard and NetEase from reaching an agreement (alongside financial reasons) were issues of intellectual property ownership and control over Chinese gamers’ data.

Signs of an impending break between the two companies surfaced over the summer when Blizzard and NetEase canceled a joint mobile MMORPG codenamed Neptune set in the world of Warcraft that had been in the works for over three years.

Bloomberg notes that without an alternative NetEase partner, Activision Blizzard is unlikely to be able to continue its operations in China. Whether the company is in negotiations with Tencent or another local distributor is unknown.

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Alan Foster

Alan Foster covers computers and games and all the news in the gaming industry.

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