NetEase Has Declined Blizzard’s Contract Extension Offer, Means Game Shutdown In China

The fate of Bliz­zard-devel­oped games in Chi­na cur­rent­ly sits at a stand­still, as NetEase has declined a six-month exten­sion of its pub­lish­ing agree­ment with Bliz­zard, cit­ing unfair and unequal treatment.

Last year it was announced that Bliz­zard had decid­ed to not renew its deal with NetEase, which has pub­lished and local­ized Bliz­zard titles for the Chi­nese mar­ket over the last 14 years. Should these two com­pa­nies fail to come to an agreement–and a new pub­lish­ing part­ner is not found before Jan­u­ary 23rd–all Bliz­zard titles in Chi­na, includ­ing games like World of War­craft, Over­watch 2, and Hearth­stone, will see ser­vices turned off on that date.

This fate is appear­ing more like­ly, as Bliz­zard offered NetEase a six-month deal to extend their pub­lish­ing agree­ment to avoid dis­rupt­ing Bliz­zard’s services–it was swift­ly declined. The fail­ure to nego­ti­ate has led to both par­ties blam­ing the other.

It is a pity that NetEase is not will­ing to extend ser­vices of our game for anoth­er six months on the basis of exist­ing terms as we look for a new part­ner,” Bliz­zard Chi­na stat­ed on a post to Chi­nese blog­ging web­site Wei­bo (via Reuters).

NetEase did­n’t take this com­ment light­ly, fir­ing back with a state­ment of its own, claim­ing Bliz­zard was seek­ing a three-year deal with com­peti­tors, all while offer­ing NetEase a six-month deal.

Con­sid­er­ing the unequal, unfair, and oth­er con­di­tions attached to the coop­er­a­tion, the two par­ties failed to reach an agree­ment in the end,” a NetEase state­ment (tran­scribed via Google Trans­late) reads. “We believe that Bliz­zard’s proposal–including today’s sud­den statement–is out­ra­geous, inap­pro­pri­ate, and not in line with busi­ness logic.”

Short­ly after Bliz­zard and NetEase first announced they would be part­ing last year, NetEase pres­i­dent of glob­al invest­ment and part­ner­ships Simon Zhu said there was more to the sto­ry than meets the eye.

One day, when what has hap­pened behind the scene[s] could be told, devel­op­ers and gamers will have a whole new lev­el under­stand­ing of how much dam­age a jerk can make,” Zhu said.

In order to pre­vent play­ers from los­ing decades worth of progress in World of War­craft, Bliz­zard recent­ly announced it will roll out a new fea­ture that will allow play­ers to down­load their characters. 

I am a Platinum lover and an ex- Cod-aholic. I've been playing games since I was 5 years old and I refuse to quit, despite my mother's attempts to get me to. God of War and its successors are my all time favorite games.

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