Blizzard Entertainment and NetEase Suspending Game Services in China
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. announced today that it will be suspending most Blizzard game services in mainland China due to the expiration of the current licensing agreements with NetEase, Inc. on January 23, 2023. This includes World of Warcraft®, Hearthstone®, Warcraft® III: Reforged, Overwatch®, the StarCraft® series, Diablo III®, and Heroes of the Storm®. Diablo Immortal® co-development and publishing is covered under a separate agreement between the two companies.

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.

We will suspend new sales in the coming days and Chinese players will be receiving details of how this will work soon. Upcoming releases for World of Warcraft: Dragonflight, Hearthstone: March of the Lich King, and season 2 of Overwatch 2 will proceed later this year.

“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.”
This article was originally published in forum thread: Blizzard and NetEase Suspending Game Services in China started by chaud View original post
Comments 55 Comments
  1. Lora's Avatar
    this is actually wild
  1. rhorle's Avatar
    I wonder if Tencent will swoop and work out a deal with Blizzard.
  1. JSoup's Avatar
    How many gold resellers do you think are freaking out right now?
  1. SpaghettiMonk's Avatar
    I found multiple sources that say that this partnership only contributed "3% of Activision Blizzard's consolidated net revenues in 2021", which is about 200 million, or about 10% of the Blizzard segment's revenues.

    I would have expected that number to be higher given all the talk about how big a market China is for Blizzard.
  1. Atrea's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by JSoup View Post
    How many gold resellers do you think are freaking out right now?
    None; none of them play WoW legally so this will change nothing for them.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by SpaghettiMonk View Post
    I found multiple sources that say that this partnership only contributed "3% of Activision Blizzard's consolidated net revenues in 2021", which is about 200 million, or about 10% of the Blizzard segment's revenues.

    I would have expected that number to be higher given all the talk about how big a market China is for Blizzard.
    https://www.statista.com/statistics/...nue-by-region/

    That talk is, I suspect, Chinese state-sponsored propaganda meant to give the impression that their business accounts for a lot more than it does, to give them artificial bargaining power. After all, if investors and shareholders are convinced, that's all that matters.
  1. TEHPALLYTANK's Avatar
    I find myself wondering if this is a finger at NetEase or a finger at China. Also I totally had forgotten about until I checked for articles on it, but now I'm wondering how much of this is related to Microsoft's efforts towards acquiring ATVI.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by SpaghettiMonk View Post
    I found multiple sources that say that this partnership only contributed "3% of Activision Blizzard's consolidated net revenues in 2021", which is about 200 million, or about 10% of the Blizzard segment's revenues.

    I would have expected that number to be higher given all the talk about how big a market China is for Blizzard.
    Diablo Immortal was excluded from that number, so it is most likely it will be higher than 3%. I'd guess that the general decline of the WoW population and Overwatch being ignored in favor of working on Overwatch 2 are relevant factors.
  1. aceperson's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by TEHPALLYTANK View Post
    I find myself wondering if this is a finger at NetEase or a finger at China. Also I totally had forgotten about until I checked for articles on it, but now I'm wondering how much of this is related to Microsoft's efforts towards acquiring ATVI.

    - - - Updated - - -



    Diablo Immortal was excluded from that number, so it is most certainly higher than 3%.
    diablo immoral has also only been out in china for around a quarter of a fiscal year so it wouldn't be included anyways.
  1. Biomega's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by SpaghettiMonk View Post
    I found multiple sources that say that this partnership only contributed "3% of Activision Blizzard's consolidated net revenues in 2021", which is about 200 million, or about 10% of the Blizzard segment's revenues.

    I would have expected that number to be higher given all the talk about how big a market China is for Blizzard.
    That's probably why the deal died - it seems likely the profits were all going to China, not to Blizzard. At some point it's just not worth the hassle, just to line someone else's pockets with your own product.

    It's possible someone else will offer a sweeter deal, but a lot of this is direction from above: foreign companies are REQUIRED to work through Chinese intermediaries, and they're not exactly going to be super willing to undercut a system designed to funnel money a certain way. But who knows, it's a very complicated landscape both economically and politically, and there's lots of deals to be had. Wait and see.
  1. GUZ's Avatar
    good fuck em
  1. SpaghettiMonk's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Biomega View Post
    That's probably why the deal died - it seems likely the profits were all going to China, not to Blizzard. At some point it's just not worth the hassle, just to line someone else's pockets with your own product.

    It's possible someone else will offer a sweeter deal, but a lot of this is direction from above: foreign companies are REQUIRED to work through Chinese intermediaries, and they're not exactly going to be super willing to undercut a system designed to funnel money a certain way. But who knows, it's a very complicated landscape both economically and politically, and there's lots of deals to be had. Wait and see.
    Right - the political part of it might have been a factor too.
  1. sensei's Avatar
    My money is on Microsoft not wanting to extend the deal because they want to renegotiate or they already have plans for a replacement.
  1. leviathonlx's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by sensei View Post
    My money is on Microsoft not wanting to extend the deal because they want to renegotiate or they already have plans for a replacement.
    Inc new deal with Tencent.
  1. Mic_128's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by SpaghettiMonk View Post
    Right - the political part of it might have been a factor too.
    I doubt it, or they wouldn't have been so quick to squash everyone around the Hong Kong incident. 99% chance it was just about the money.
  1. Slowpoke is a Gamer's Avatar
    China's what... their biggest market at this point? Maybe second behind Korea? Definitely bigger than NA ever was for them in terms of raw playerbase.

    If this is actually curtains for them in China that's potentially an actual death knell.
  1. Mysterymask's Avatar
    Does this mean MMO Champion will stop screaming china for everything they don't like
  1. SniperCT's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Slowpoke is a Gamer View Post
    China's what... their biggest market at this point? Maybe second behind Korea? Definitely bigger than NA ever was for them in terms of raw playerbase.

    If this is actually curtains for them in China that's potentially an actual death knell.
    https://www.statista.com/statistics/...nue-by-region/

    If this is accurate, I think it hurts but it's not a death knell or even a disaster.
  1. leviathonlx's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Slowpoke is a Gamer View Post
    China's what... their biggest market at this point? Maybe second behind Korea? Definitely bigger than NA ever was for them in terms of raw playerbase.

    If this is actually curtains for them in China that's potentially an actual death knell.
    No it's not their biggest market. It's 3% for the company as a whole and 10% for Blizzard. They'll just make a contract with another company like Tencent. This also doesn't impact Diablo Immortal.
  1. vilememory's Avatar
    Considering China is cutting back on how much kids can play, they may extend that to adults as well. That and they may be making their own knock off version of every Blizzard and Activision game that they can control and micromanage players. Doesn't matter why, just going to be interesting going on.
  1. mcnally86's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Atrea View Post
    None; none of them play WoW legally so this will change nothing for them.

    - - - Updated - - -



    https://www.statista.com/statistics/...nue-by-region/

    That talk is, I suspect, Chinese state-sponsored propaganda meant to give the impression that their business accounts for a lot more than it does, to give them artificial bargaining power. After all, if investors and shareholders are convinced, that's all that matters.
    The Warcraft movie is still the biggest video game movie of all time. Us audiences mostly snubbed it. Most of that money is from China. People seem to want to hide their warcraft love stateside. Chinese fans go hard. I wonder who buys the most merch.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by GUZ View Post
    good fuck em
    Man, I dislike the Chinese government but I've got nothing against Chinese Warcraft nerds.
  1. OrangeJuice's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by SpaghettiMonk View Post
    Right - the political part of it might have been a factor too.
    They aren't pulling out of China. Microsoft is already partnered with Tencent, so Tencent will likely take the contract once Microsoft takes over.

Site Navigation