Blizzard games set to return to China following leaked photo – WGB

By admin Apr9,2024

It looks like Blizzard titles such as World of Warcraft will be returning to the Chinese market for the first time since the region lost access to them in 2023.

The news comes via Chinese market analyst CN Wire, with a formal announcement of the deal expected to be made on Wednesday.

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Adding fuel to the speculation fire is a leaked image of what appears to be NetEase CEO Ding Lei meeting with Activision Blizzard CEO Johanna Faries.

Due to the speculation, Netease shares have risen as much as 5%. If you’re wondering what Netease has to do with publishing games in China, the basic gist is that Chinese law requires any outside company to work with a local entity in order to do business in China. It’s this law that has helped NetEase and Tencent grow even large because as two of the biggest tech giants in the country, many outside parties choose them as their partner.

Activision Blizzard and NetEase originally signed a deal in 2008 which allowed NetEase to publish Blizzard games in China such as World of Warcraft, Overwatch and Diablo.

In 2022 the long-running partnership collapsed as both companies couldn’t agree on terms. That meant players in China could no longer legally access the likes of World of Warcraft which is hugely popular in the country, from early 2023, although many found ways around this.

It’s unclear what has brought both parties back to the negotiating table, but the mostly likely reason is that Bobby Kotick is no longer in charge of Activision Blizzard, and Microsoft now own the company.

On social media, a NetEase executive blamed a “jerk” for the destruction of the deal, which many took to be a reference to Bobby Kotick. On the other side, a source told IGN in 2022 that the deal was reviewed every few years, and that NetEase wanted to make changes which would fundmentally alter the agreement.

Both companies would go on to take potshots at each other. I’d highly recommend reading The China Projects breakdown of the situation for a better look at everything and how it played out.

Regardless of what happened and who caused it, the recently leaked photo and reports seem to strong suggest that NetEase and Blizzard have managed to patch up the relationship which is great news for Chinese gamers.

By admin

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