Blizzard Games to Return to China Under New Agreement With NetEase

Blizzard has announced that its games will return to mainland China in summer 2024 after nearly a year and a half of market shutdown. Additionally, Microsoft (which now owns Blizzard) and NetEase have entered into another separate agreement to bring NetEase games to Xbox and other platforms.

Blizzard’s games were taken offline in China in January 2023 after NetEase and Blizzard failed to reach a new publishing deal. However, both companies have now reached one. The deal will include all games that Chinese players had access to under the previous deal, including Overwatch, Diablo and World of Warcraft.

As both parties work to revive the games, more details will be revealed at a later date. Phil Spencer commented on Microsoft’s new partnership with NetEase, saying: “Bringing Blizzard’s legendary games back to Chinese gamers while exploring ways to bring more new titles to Xbox demonstrates our commitment to bringing more games to more gamers in the world. » However, Spencer did not provide any further details.

This new deal comes after Blizzard and NetEase had a bit of a falling out in November 2022, when their original publishing deal was set to expire. Blizzard China and NetEase were pointing fingers at each other, with the former offering to expand its services, but the latter turning it down, with a NetEase executive saying the initial extension of the deal fell apart due to a Specific “fool.”

Regardless, Blizzard vowed to look for alternative ways to bring its games back to the Chinese market, but ultimately reached a new deal with NetEase.

George Yang is a freelance writer for IGN. He has been writing about the industry since 2019 and has worked with other publications such as Insider, Kotaku, NPR and Variety.

When he’s not writing about video games, George plays video games. What a surprise! You can follow him on Twitter @Yinyangfooey

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