Blizzard games are leaving China after NetEase extension denied

It's still looking for a new publisher to operate in China.

Blizzard Entertainment will suspend all its video games in mainland China on Jan. 23 following NetEase denying a six-month extension of its initial agreement, the developer said today in a press release.

It recommended players from the country save their game progress and said it was still looking for a new publisher to start activities again in China.

The only Blizzard game that’s not impacted by this decision is Diablo Immortal, the license’s mobile game, which is being directly operated by NetEase under a different agreement.

“We approached NetEase again last week for assistance in exploring a six-month extension of our existing agreement … to allow everyone to continue playing without disruption and for Blizzard to continue exploring a reasonable and long-term path forward in the China region,” it said in a press release, according to a translation from Wowhead. “Unfortunately, NetEase did not accept our proposal.”

The deal between the companies was coming to an end, but Blizzard had asked for this six-month extension while looking for another publisher to continue operating in China. NetEase’s local operating team had, however, already been mostly disbanded. Only a dozen employees remained to provide basic customer service and technical support.

A feature to save backups of game progress will be introduced to live servers tomorrow, so players can start where they stopped playing when Blizzard finds another publisher to operate its games again in China.

The developer said “starting talks with a number of potential partners” that share their views in “player-first values … [and] provide high quality and consistent game play, create a positive gaming environment both inside and outside of the game, and work with us to bring our games back to our players in China,” according to Wowhead. It’s still unclear how far these discussions have gone, though, and when players from China will be able to play Blizzard games again.

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