Blizzard Entertainment has announced that it will suspend key games such as Overwatch 2 and World of Warcraft in China due to a failure to reach an agreement with partner NetEase.
Hearthstone, Starcraft, Heroes of the Storm, Diablo III, and Warcraft III: Reforged, among other titles, will be unavailable in China beginning January 23, 2023.
According to NetEase, Diablo Immortal, which was released earlier this year, will be unaffected because it is covered by a separate agreement.
“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, and the agreements are set to expire in January 2023,” Blizzard said in the press release.
“We will suspend new sales in the coming days and Chinese players will be receiving details of how this will work soon. Upcoming releases for World of Warcraft: Dragonflight, Hearthstone: March of the Lich King, and season 2 of Overwatch 2 will proceed later this year.”
It looks like the last standing agreement didn’t end amicably.
“One day, when what has happened behind the scene could be told, developers and gamers will have a whole new level understanding of how much damage a jerk can make,” said NetEase’s president of global investment and partnership, Simon Zhu, in a LinkedIn post spotted by TechCrunch.
Blizzard, meanwhile, said “we are looking for alternatives to bring our games back to players in the future.”