Brittany Gates

Reporting video games and tech news from an entrepreneur angle

Blizzard Games Leave China In January 2023

blizzard games leave china
Blizzard games will no longer be available in China come January 2023 because it cannot negotiate a new agreement with NetEase, who publishes the game in China.

Bad news for Chinese gamers: Several Blizzard games leave China in January 2023 because the game developer cannot come to an agreement with NetEase, its game publisher in the country. The two companies had a license agreement since 2008 per a press release on Activision Blizzard’s website.

Blizzard Games Leave China Because Failed Negotiations

It appears Activision Blizzard has been in negotiations with NetEase, Inc for quite some time, as the licensing deal expires on January 23, 2023. Yet, the company announced yesterday evening the two companies couldn’t come to an agreement. What’s holding up the deal? According to the company’s press release the “two parties have not reached a deal to renew the agreements that is consistent with Blizzard’s operating principles and commitments to players and employees.”

Now, I won’t try to figure out what “Blizzard’s operating principles and commitments to players and employees” is because it doesn’t say in the press release. Yet, I do question this sentence because Activision Blizzard has many problems with its company culture. This is not to give NetEase a pass, however, because the world knows about the various issues China has with human rights, let alone with labor rights.

The Games Leaving China

Blizzard says it will suspend most games in China come January 23, 2023. The list includes:

  • Warcraft
  • Hearthstone
  • Warcraft III: Reforged
  • Overwatch
  • The StarCraft series
  • Diablo III
  • Heroes of the Storm

As for Diablo Immortal that game will still be available because it’s covered a separate agreement. So at least Chinese gamers can continue to play that game. According to the game developer it “will suspend new sales in the coming days and Chinese players will be receiving details of how this will work soon.” Yet it appears Blizzard is going through with publishing new games over in the country still: “Upcoming releases for World of Warcraft: Dragonflight, Hearthstone: March of the Lich King, and season 2 of Overwatch 2 will proceed later this year.”

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