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Blizzard, Netease End 14-Year Partnership

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Blizzard’s biggest games will become unavailable in China following the end of their close to 15 year partnership with NetEase, which is set to come to an end in January 2023.

China-based NetEase has handled publishing for some of Blizzard’s biggest titles, including World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, and Overwatch, however the two sides were unable to agree to terms on a new deal to keep the relationship alive.

The current deal will officially expire on January 23rd, at which point the following titles will be suspended in China:

  • Diablo 3
  • Hearthstone
  • Heroes of the Storm
  • Overwatch
  • StarCraft (all titles)
  • Warcraft 3: Reforged
  • World of Warcraft

Additionally, Blizzard has said it will cease new sales of these titles “in the coming days” but the upcoming releases for World of Warcraft: Dragonflight, Hearthstone: March of the Lich King, and season two of Overwatch 2 will move forward as planned.

Furthermore, Diablo Immortal, which is co-developed by NetEase and Blizzard, is covered by a separate agreement.

“We have put in a great deal of effort and tried with our utmost sincerity to negotiate with Activision Blizzard so that we could continue our collaboration and serve the many dedicated players in China” NetEase CEO William Ding said in an official statement.

“However, there were material differences on key terms and we could not reach an agreement.

“We hold high regard in our product and operational standards and abide by our commitments to Chinese players.”

Blizzard released a statement of their own stating that the two companies could not agree on a deal that was “consistent with Blizzard’s operating principles and commitments to players and employees.”

 

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