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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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Activision Blizzard Representation Data Report for 2022

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Activision Blizzard has release it’s 2022 representation data report, which includes data on full-time employees who identify as non-binary.

Per the report, women and non-binary individuals make up 26% of its staff. In 2021, women represented 24% of Activision Blizzard (via GamesIndustry.biz).

In 2022, under-represented ethnic groups represented 38% of the publisher, and in 2021 that number was 36%. Additionally, employee ethnicity data represents staff who identify as multi-racial or non-white within the United States only.

While the company said that their goal is to increase roles for women and non-binary staff by 50%, Activision Blizzard hasn’t announced a target for increasing the number of under-represented ethnic groups.

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Sega of America Launches New Office in California

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Sega of America has officially announced that they have opened a brand new office in Irvine, California which will house Sega and its subsidiary Atlus’ internal publishing departments within a single space.

The focus of the new office will be facilitating media streaming opportunities for the North American team.

“The opening of the new Sega of America headquarters in Irvine represents a new era for one of the gaming world’s most esteemed brands,” said Sega global CEO, Shuji Utsumi in an official statement. “This new space helps to foster a genial and team-oriented culture to reinforce that purpose and create new stories and worlds that will entertain gamers for generations.”

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Keywords Studios Opens Office in Romania

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Keywords Studios has officially announced that they have opened a brand new location in Bucharest, Romania, which comes a year after their acquisition of art studio AMC.

“We want to contribute to the development of the industry in Romania, offering people the opportunity to lend a hand in the development of some of the most popular games in the world,” said head of studio Vlad Alexandru in an official statement.

“This studio will also further contribute to the growth of Keywords’ global talent pool which stands at 12,000+ and is increasing by the day.”

 

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