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World of Warcraft, Overwatch 2 and other Blizzard games are being suspended in China

Published: 09:37, 17 November 2022
Blizzard
World of Warcraft Classic: The Burning Crusade
Blizzard were unable to extend their contract with publisher NetEase

Blizzard are suspending several games in China because they couldn't reach an agreement with their publishing partner NetEase. 

World of Warcraft , Overwatch 2 , Diablo III , and more won’t be available in China after January 23, 2023, unless Blizzard find another publishing partner for these globally popular titles. 

Blizzard's licencing and publishing partner in China, NetEase , have today announced that the deal for the publication of several Blizzard titles is set to expire and will not be renewed. 

The affected games are World of Warcraft, the StarCraft series, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, Overwatch and Diablo 3. Interestingly, Diablo Immortal won't be suspended from the market. 

In a LinkedIn post , the President of Global Investment and Partnership at NetEase Games, Simon Zhu was quite disappointed with the outcome to the point where he openly called someone a jerk.

"One day, when what has happened behind the scene could be told, developers and gamers will have a whole new level of understanding of how much damage a jerk can make," Zhu Wrote. 

It's not clear who is the jerk in question but one thing is for certain, NetEase seem to be really pissed off about the entire situation. 

NetEase Naraka: Bladepoint - Ziping Yin NetEase are one of the biggest gaming companies in China with titles like Naraka: Bladepoint

NetEase are one of the biggest gaming companies in China and ever since 2008 they had a strong relationship with Blizzard, publishing many titles across various platforms. 

At the moment, it's not clear what happened between the two companies but NetEase explained in the statement that the two companies could not agree on "material differences on key terms".

So, what happens next? Well, NetEase will continue to handle the abovementioned games until January 23 but unless Blizzard find a different partner in China after that, their games won't be available there, it's simple as that. That is, of course, a terrible situation for Chinese players who regularly play Blizzard's games. Hopefully, Blizzard find a solution sooner rather than later. 

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