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These Blizzard Games Will Not Be Playable In China After January 2023

Oh dear, it looks like China will be left without a bunch of Blizzard games early next year.

Activision Blizzard will suspend World of WarCraft, Overwatch 2, Diablo 3, StarCraft 2, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and WarCraft III: Reforged in China after 23 January 2023. According to an official statement, Activision Blizzard will suspend the sales of the games and offer guidance to Chinese players in the coming days. No specific timeline has been set.

Why is this so? This is because the company cannot reach an agreement with its licensing and publishing partner NetEase. The issues weren’t just the deal’s financial terms but also the dispute concerning player data and who owned the intellectual property. The revenue from the games was “low single digits as a percentage” of NetEase’s total revenue.

Here’s an official statement from Blizzard president Mike Ybarra.

“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. We are looking for alternatives to bring our games back to players in the future.”

We do wonder how the future of gold-farming will pan out, given that one of the reasons WoW is being played a lot in China is due to the gold-farming economy.

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