Blizzard Shutting Down Its Chinese Servers

As relations with NetEase fall apart.

Blizzard announced this evening that they are suspending services in China following a falling out between the developer and its Chinese publisher NetEase. According to a release sent out by Blizzard late Wednesday, the company revealed that it decided not to renew contract deals with NetEase after their expiration in January 2023 due to NetEase’s apparent failure to agree to terms that are consistent with Blizzard operating principles.

Blizzard Entertainment has had licensing agreements with NetEase since 2008, covering the publication of these Blizzard titles in China. The two parties have not reached a deal to renew the agreements that is consistent with Blizzard’s operating principles and commitments to players and employees, and the agreements are set to expire in January 2023.

This means servers for Overwatch 2, World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Warcraft III, Diablo 3, and Heroes of the Storm will no longer be available in China following the closure. Diablo Immortal is covered under a different deal and is unaffected by the change for the moment.

It also means that Blizzard has no concrete plans at the moment for continued service in China. Servers for the above games may be down for a long time, assuming they ever come back up. The announcement will no doubt spell bad news for NetEase, who derive a good amount of revenue from supporting Blizzard’s titles.

“We’re immensely grateful for the passion our Chinese community has shown throughout the nearly 20 years we’ve been bringing our games to China through NetEase and other partners,” said Mike Ybarra, president, Blizzard Entertainment. “Their enthusiasm and creativity inspire us, and we are looking for alternatives to bring our games back to players in the future.”

Our bet? Some executive at Tencent is going to be making a lot of phone calls in the coming days.

Source: Activision

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