The developer breaks with the games’ Chinese publisher.
As of January 23, 2023, games such as World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Starcraft, Diablo III and Overwatch will no longer be available in China. It comes after the collaboration between Blizzard and the company’s Chinese publisher NetEase has broken down.
In a message to its investors, Blizzard wrote that the parties have not agreed on a new agreement. The two companies have worked together since 2008, but now it is over.
We are very grateful for the passion our Chinese fans have shown in the nearly 20 years we have been selling our games in China via NetEase and other partners. Their enthusiasm and creativity inspires us, and we’re looking for options to bring the games back to players in the future,” said Blizzard CEO Mike Ybarra.
– An idiot
In its own official statement (via Eurogamer), NetEase said that it has tried to negotiate with Activision Blizzard in vain. In the end, however, the companies were looking for very different things, and it became impossible to reach an agreement.
NetEase chief Simon Zhu took a far less diplomatic tone in his discussion of the situation. He took to LinkedIn on Thursday, expressing his disappointment on behalf of Chinese players and pointing to “an idiot” who has caused all this.
– As a player who spent 10,000 hours in worlds like Azeroth, Starcraft, and Overwatch, I am heartbroken that I will no longer have access to my account and all of my memories next year. One day, when all that has been going on behind the scenes can be revealed, developers and players will realize how much damage an idiot can cause, Zhu wrote.