A disagreement between the companies Activision Blizzard and NetEase could cause the withdrawal of many games from the company in China. As indicated by the dealer NetEase, The agreement between both parties will expire on January 23, 2023, so games like Overwatch 2, World of Warcraft y Starcraft II they would stop working in chinasomething that would be very negative for Blizzard’s finances.
Until now, Activision Blizzard had been working with NetEase to be able to distribute its games in the Asian giant. In order for technology and video game companies to operate in that country, they need to have a license, which is very difficult to obtain. For this reason, Western companies partner with Chinese companies to distribute their products.
The contract had lasted about 14 years, so the announcement came as a surprise to the public, which is now wondering about Blizzard’s financial future. While NetEase is not its only partner in China, it is the most important. franchises like Warcraft, Overwatch, Starcraft y Diablo they would be left without any permission to work there. Nevertheless, Diablo Immortal it will remain active due to a separate agreement that will last longer.
It is not yet known what solution Activision Blizzard will try to come up with. It is not known if it will try to find another partner or if it has no choice but to withdraw from the Chinese market. Additionally, one should think about Microsoft’s interests and how you could address the problem as a new owner.
Activision Blizzard Games Won’t Work In China: What Happened To NetEase?
This was the message he left NetEase on the non-renewal of the agreement:
“We have worked hard and sincerely tried to negotiate with Activision Blizzard so that we can continue our collaboration and serve the many dedicated gamers in China. However, there were material differences in key terms and we were unable to reach an agreement. We hold our product and operational standards in high regard and honor our commitments to Chinese players.”
This message is striking, since this is not the first disagreement between the two companies. Just a few months ago we reported that a mobile game would have been canceled under the same “material differences” explanations.
However, it seems that the situation goes beyond money issues. NetEase’s president of global investment and partnerships, Simon Zhu, made a highly personal post on Linkedin:
As a player who spent ten thousand hours in the world of Azeroth, Starcraft y OverwatchI feel so heartbroken (…)
(…) One day, when what happened behind the scenes can be told, developers and players will have a whole new level of understanding of how much damage it can do a jerk.
Since then, the public has been wondering who Zhu is talking about “the asshole”. It is believed that he is someone within Activision Blizzard, but he himself said that he will not clarify until when it is prudent to talk about it. The truth is, while companies point fingers at each other, the future of games like Overwatch 2 y World of Warcraft in China it is uncertain.