World of Warcraft leaves China (together with Blizzard) – Technology Org

Chinese gamers are saying goodbye to the “World of Warcraft” and other titles from Blizzard, as the company parts ways with NetEase.

Blizzard Entertainment logo on the Gamescom display. Image credit: Raimond Spekking via Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 4.0

Yesterday Blizzard Entertainment and NetEase revealed the decision to end their 14-year partnership. This is an unexpected development for millions of gamers, many of whom have grown up while playing games developed by a California-based company. NetEase shares dropped by 9% yesterday.

Representatives of Blizzard commented that the two companies failed to reach a common deal consistent with Blizzard’s operating principles. This announcement did not provide more specific details. Representatives of NetEase also confirmed the same fact.

Blizzard has already confirmed that new sales in the China-based market would be suspended in the coming days and that further details would be announced later. The company plans to suspend the following games by midnight on Jan. 24:

  • World of Warcraft
  • Hearthstone
  • Warcraft III: Reforged
  • Overwatch
  • StarCraft series
  • Diablo III
  • Heroes of the Storm.

NetEase is the second largest content, gaming, and e-commerce platform in China, with Tencent Holdings in the first position. Many industry experts associate the rapid rise of NetEase with the deal it made in 2008 to become Blizzard’s publishing partner in China.

According to preliminary market forecasts, NetEase’s revenue could be lower by 6-8% next year.

“Diablo Immortal”, which was recently co-developed by NetEase and Blizzard, will continue in China’s market because it is subject to a separate license agreement.

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