Blizzard Entertainment and NetEase are ending their gaming services in China
Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. announced that it will discontinue most Blizzard game services in mainland China due to the expiration of the current licensing agreements with NetEase, Inc. on January 23, 2023.
These include World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Warcraft III: Reforged, Overwatch, the StarCraft series, Diablo III, and Heroes of the Storm. The joint development and publishing of Diablo Immortal is covered by a separate agreement between the two companies.
Blizzard Entertainment has had licensing agreements with NetEase since 2008 covering the release of these Blizzard titles in China. The two parties have not agreed to an extension of the contracts that is consistent with Blizzard’s business principles and commitments to players and employees, and the contracts expire in January 2023.
New sales will be phased out in the coming days and Chinese players will soon receive details on how to proceed. Upcoming releases for World of Warcraft: Dragonflight, Hearthstone: March of the Lich King, and Season 2 of Overwatch 2 will come later this year.
“We’re immensely grateful for the passion our Chinese community has shown throughout the nearly 20 years we’ve been bringing our games to China through NetEase and other partners,” said Mike Ybarra, president, Blizzard Entertainment. “Their enthusiasm and creativity inspire us, and we are looking for alternatives to bring our games back to players in the future.”