World of Warcraft: Popular game to return to China

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Chinese NetEase and game publisher Activision Blizzard end their feud

  • Author, Mariko Oi
  • Role, Economic journalist

Popular games such as World of Warcraft will return to China this summer, according to Chinese video game giant NetEase.

Last year, NetEase and game developer Activision Blizzard ended their 14-year partnership due to a disagreement over control of intellectual property.

The breakup sparked an outcry from millions of Chinese internet users complaining about losing access to their favorite games.

All games require a local publisher and licenses from the Chinese government to run on them.

The earlier disagreement escalated into an open feud that saw both companies sue each other.

“We are extremely grateful for the passion the Chinese community has shown for Blizzard games over the years,” Johanna Faries, president of Blizzard Entertainment, said in a statement.

“We strive to bring our worlds back to players with excellence and dedication.”

Other Blizzard titles returning to China include the Hearthstone, Warcraft, Overwatch, Diablo and StarCraft franchises.

China is the world’s largest online gaming market, with domestic revenue up 13% to 303 billion yuan ($42 billion; £33) at the end of last year.

NetEase is the second largest video game company in the country in terms of revenue after Tencent.

Microsoft and NetEase also said they have agreed to consider bringing new NetEase titles to Microsoft’s Xbox gaming consoles and its other gaming platforms.

“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 around the world,” said Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming.

This lucrative sector has also had frequent run-ins with the authorities.

Beijing first clamped down on the video games industry in 2021, ruling that online gamers under the age of 18 would only be allowed to play for one hour on Fridays, weekends and public holidays.

Late last year, authorities announced new restrictions to limit in-game purchases, but China appears to have backtracked on tough rules to combat what the regulator called “obsessive” gaming.

News Source :
Gn tech

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