Blizzard parts ways with NetEase, ending 14-year partnership in China

Blizzard parts ways with NetEase, ending 14-year partnership in China

Chinese internet tech firm NetEase and American game developer Blizzard Entertainment are reportedly planning to end their 14-year-old partnership after January 2023.

This means that some of the most popular games in China will no longer be playable in the country and NetEase will lose its major revenue source.

The two firms failed to agree on extending their collaboration, under which games, such as World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Diablo, and StarCraft were accessible to Chinese players.

As per the US-based firm, the Activision Blizzard subsidiary will be suspending most of its online game services in mainland China from 23rd January. The game sales will be stopped soon as well.

Apart from financial terms, the two cloud not reach an agreement on intellectual property ownership and controlling data of millions of players across the country, according to sources.

Data has become a thorny issue amid escalating political tensions between the US and China, with US politicians criticizing TikTok, owned by Chinese giant ByteDance, for being a threat to national security.

The deal, first signed in 2008, saw both parties receive substantial benefits as NetEase saw global recognition while Activision was able to enter the largest PC and mobile gaming market in the world.

China accounted for around 3% of Activision’s total revenue last year. Blizzard has many competitive gaming organizations, including Chinese teams.

The rift between the two began in the summer of this year when plans for the World of Warcraft smartphone game, which was under development for three years, were scrapped.

A team of over 100 developers in NetEase that was tasked with content creation for the game was dismissed.

Activision has warned through its earnings report this month that it may not reach a ‘mutually satisfactory’ deal on licensing agreements in China. If it does not find an alternative partner, Activision may discontinue its business in China.

However, players will continue to be able to play Diablo Immortal, which was launched earlier this year, as the game is part of an individual long-term deal.

Source credit:

About the author

Meghna Singh

An English Literature graduate, Meghna Singh ventured into the profession of content development to incorporate her knack for writing articles across verticals including technology, healthcare, business, and alike for News Origins and Newsorigins. She has also completed her MBA in Tourism and worked as a content creator in the field of product development.