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Why will Blizzard games stop being published in China?

Nacho Requena Molina

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Activision Blizzard King has enough problems on top to now have one more. The company is immersed in the purchase process by Microsoft, a movement that is finding opposition from different regulatory bodies. However, this will not be the only one: Blizzard will no longer be available in China.

This news could be irrelevant if it weren’t for the fact that China is one of the most important markets in the world (or the most, depending on the prism from which you look at it). In addition, in the case of Blizzard it is even more serious, since many of its titles billed tens of millions of dollars in the country, with World of Warcraft as one of the most important for more than a decade. But how did it come to this?

Why will Blizzard games stop being published in China?

As reported by Reuters, Blizzard has broken its collaboration contract with NetEase, the company that was in charge of distributing its video games in China, after 14 years. As some readers may already know, the tight government control over video games “forces” (and we put it in quotes) to foreign companies to hire other local ones, all to make marketing easier and speed up the process.

Blizzard blames NetEase for having a rather negative attitude, while NetEase accuses Blizzard of only wanting to sign for six months so that they can seal deals with other partners in the future. In fact, the latter comments that the offer is “commercially illogical and unfair”.

Each one passes the hot potato, but the only reality is that as of this coming January 23, games like World of Warcraft or Overwatch 2 (among many others) will not be available. For the moment, Diablo Immortal is saved from burning, which can continue to be played thanks to a special agreement signed at its launch. Until a new distribution agreement is signed (or Blizzard does it itself, something that we see complicated by the idiosyncrasy of China), these games will remain on the shelf waiting.

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