Video Games

Activision Blizzard Committed to Chinese Gaming Market Following End of NetEase Agreement

Updated 11/17 2:56 PM PT: IGN has learned additional details leading to the end of Activision Blizzard’s 14-year partnership with NetEase following a “jerky” social media statement by one NetEase executive.

According to Activision Blizzard sources familiar with the partnership with NetEase, the agreement between the two companies will be reviewed every few years to extend the existing agreement.

However, the new proposal from NetEase would “fundamentally change” the terms of the contract and affect certain aspects of the contract, such as changes to “how the game is launched and operated” and “control of our IP”. It will be.

Our sources also say the company is working on the Chinese gaming market, one of the world’s largest consumer markets, and that “alternatives” are being considered to bring gaming back to the region in the future. It shows that

The partnership between NetEase and Blizzard may not make much sense in North America, but it’s what made Blizzard’s games available in one of the world’s largest gaming markets. That partnership is dead as of today, and according to senior NetEase executives, it’s all because of one “jerk.”

Simon Zhu, a 10-year NetEase veteran who has held several senior positions at the company, including president of Global Investment and Partnership, wrote a short post on LinkedIn lamenting the end of the partnership between NetEase and Blizzard. .

“As a gamer who has spent 10,000 hours in the worlds of Azeroth, StarCraft, and Overwatch, I am very heartbroken that I will not be able to access my account and memories next year,” said Zhu. describe“One day, developers and gamers will have a whole new understanding of just how much damage a jerk can do, as the behind-the-scenes story is told.” prize.”

Activision Blizzard has announced that several game franchises including Overwatch, StarCraft, Diablo 3 and World of Warcraft will be suspended in China from January 23, 2023.

The company, which is responsible for publishing Blizzard’s games domestically, said it was unable to strike a new deal with NetEase, a partner it needed to navigate China’s publishing bureaucracy.

In a statement in English, NetEase said the termination of the contract had no “material impact” on the company’s results and that Blizzard’s games contributed low-single digits to the company’s net income.

NetEase CEO William Ding said, “We continue our promise to serve our players until the very end. We will ensure that our players’ data and assets are well protected in every game.” I’m here. Reuters.

Diablo: Immortal is still playable as it falls under a separate contract.

In a statement, Blizzard said, “We are extremely grateful for the passion shown by the Chinese community in bringing their games to China through NetEase and our partners for nearly 20 years.

But from Zhu’s perspective, it seems like they see Blizzard’s lone “jerk” individual as responsible for the end of the partnership. However, it is unclear who that person was and what exactly they did to end the partnership.

Matt TM Kim is IGN’s News can contact him @lawoftd.

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