Last year in November, Blizzard announced its long-term partnership with NetEase would come to an end as the proposed extension deal did not satisfy Blizzard’s corporate terms and values. As a result, it will discontinue its live service games in mainland China, including World of Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and Overwatch, from 23rd January 2023.
NetEase served as the publishing partner for Blizzard games in China for the past 14 years, and an abrupt pull-out from China was a significant move by Blizzard, affecting many gamers in the region.
A recent South China Morning Post report claims that NetEase has started ‘disbanding’ the staff responsible for Blizzard’s operations in China.
The Shanghai-based unit under Shanghai EaseNet Network Technology, an affiliate of NetEase – China’s second-largest video gaming company by revenue – has laid off or arranged internal transfers for “most staff”, according to the sources, who declined to be named as the information is private.”
However, SCMP mentions that the team responsible for Blizzard’s operations in China at NetEase was small and only contained 100 people, most of whom left when there was no hope for closing on an extension deal between Blizzard and NetEase. Others were reassigned within NetEase.
But a 10-person team is reported to stay active for the next six months at NetEase’s Blizzard division for customer and technical support purposes. Reports also indicate that Activision Blizzard was in discussions with potential Chinese distribution partners in the month of December.
However, it appears that no agreement has been reached with any Chinese companies before 23rd January 2023, despite their representatives visiting the United States for negotiations.
That’s all the new information we have about the departure of Activision Blizzard from China. We will keep you posted upon receiving any further valuable information about this news.
What are your thoughts about Blizzard leaving China? How will this impact the gamers in the region? Let’s discuss this in the comment section below.