Activision-Blizzard says that Netease has declined to extend its publishing deal in China. This means that as of January 23rd, Activision-Blizzard games will not be available in the region.
According to Reuters (via IGN), Blizzard China published a statement on Weibo claiming that they offered to extend their contract, which was due to expire in late January, by another 6 months. Netease however declined, ending the company’s 14-year-long partnership with Blizzard.
“It is a pity that NetEase is not willing to extend services of our game for another six months on the basis of existing terms as we look for a new partner,” Blizzard China said.
This will means that games like World of Warcraft, Overwatch 2, and Hearthstone will no longer be accessible to Chinese players. Blizzard has stated that they are looking for a new partner to bring their games over to the region but have not confirmed anything so far.
We should note however that the mobile game Diablo Immortal is being handled under a separate contract and will remain available in China after the contract terminates.
Netease has since released its own response to Blizzard’s statement with some rather volatile wording. They claim that Blizzard only offered them the 6-month contract extension last week and made it clear that they would continue to seek other partnerships in the meantime. Netease has described the new extension with the following:
“Considering the non-reciprocity, unfairness, and other strict conditions attached to the cooperation, the parties were therefore unable to reach an agreement in the end”.
“In our view, Blizzard’s proposals – including today’s surprise announcement – are brutal, unseemly, and commercially illogical. Its overconfidence does not take into account where it places players and NetEase in this kind of give-and-take, donkey-riding, divorce-defying behavior”.
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