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Blizzard Tried to Extend NetEase Deal in China By Six Months to Avoid Service Interruptions

Christina Gonzalez Updated: Posted:
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Activision Blizzard tried to extend its partnership deal with NetEase to keep its games running in China a little longer, but a deal never came together. The deal is set to conclude next week on January 23rd.

According to a report by Reuters, a statement by Blizzard China said that the developer contacted NetEase to propose extending the 14 year partnership by six months. The two companies had decided to part ways, announcing the end of support in China for Blizzard’s slate of games back in November. They requested an additional six months of support to keep things running while Blizzard looked for another partner, but NetEase was not on board.

This would have led to the same end of a deal that has been in place since 2008, but delayed to give more time for the transition. The report says that "NetEase said it had made the utmost effort to negotiate but found the proposed terms requested by the U.S. company unacceptable". 

Recently, operations began winding down, as NetEase has been laying off employees on the affected titles and begun the closure process. The end of the Blizzard-NetEase deal affects most of Blizzard’s titles in China. Diablo Immortal, which the two companies released collaboratively under a different deal, is unaffected. But if you’re a World of Warcraft player, Overwatch, or Hearthstone? That’s coming to an end very soon. 

On the NetEase side, they have maintained that they negotiated on a potential deal to continue the ongoing partnership in good faith, but there were reports of differences in everything from money to player data concerns. 

Blizzard’s statement says that they continue to look for another partner to work with to bring the games back to the Chinese market. This won’t happen in time to avoid the shutdown and interruption of services next week, but that they’re not closing the door might mean we see Chinese players back in Azeroth eventually.


Christina Gonzalez

Christina is MMORPG.COM’s News Editor and a contributor since 2011. Always a fan of great community and wondering if the same sort of magic that was her first guild exists anymore.