Chinese WoW Servers Shut Down After 14 Years Following Expiration Of NetEase Agreement

Blizzard games fans love. The world of gaming And Overwatch China is in mourning after Activision Blizzard and China’s NetEase Games failed to renew their licensing agreement, shutting down the majority of Blizzard’s game services in the country.

The two companies have been partners for 14 years, with Blizzard’s MMORPG having operated in the country for a few years under a separate company before Blizzard and NetEase’s partnership. The 2009 handoff between WoW’s former operator in China and NetEase was the first time WOW closed in the region, though only for a few months.

Activision Blizzard announced late last year that it would not be renewing its contract with NetEase.The game is due to end on January 23 with services. That time has now passed. WoW players in China have been forced to download almost two decades worth of character data. In hopes that the game’s servers will one day return and their characters can be restored.

A longtime WoW player in China documented the game’s final moments in the country. Twitter, stating that the process of downloading their character has become known as digital “cremation” among Chinese players. The server shutdown was an unfortunately quiet affair, as the act of downloading a player’s character data effectively locked them out of playing the game and participating in any sort of farewell gathering.

But in a long post LinkedIn Titled “A Love Letter: The Memory Remains,” NetEase’s president of global investments and partnerships, Simon Zhou, personally thanked various Blizzard employees (many of whom are no longer with the company) for Thank you for your contribution in creating a world that millions of people are enjoying. Chinese players.

“Today is a sad moment to witness the server shutdown, and we don’t know how things will play out in the future,” Zhou wrote. “The biggest victims will be the players in China who live and breathe these worlds. I also know how difficult it must be for the developers of Blizzard who put all their efforts into creating these amazing worlds. Spent passion and talent. I hope all those precious memories never come back. Fade away.”

Activision Blizzard is looking for a new partner in China to distribute its games, but Recently tried to renew my contract with NetEase for only six months. To avoid disruption of game services. NetEase refused the deal, citing unfair treatment, as Blizzard reportedly offered three-year deals to other companies. Both companies have released statements that primarily blame each other for the deal. NetEase has since dismantled the team responsible for the Blizzard games in the region, even going as far as demolishing their Blizzard offices and live-streaming an Orc statue.

It is unclear when Blizzard games may return to China. WoW general manager John Hyatt said in December that Blizzard was in discussions with “several new distribution partners” and that “the process will continue until we find a viable solution. “

Despite the apparent bad blood between Blizzard and Netizens now, there is one Blizzard game that will remain playable in China: Diablo Immortal. The free-to-play mobile game was developed by NetEase in collaboration with Blizzard, and is included in a separate licensing agreement between the two companies. NetEase was reportedly working on one as well. Mobile Warcraft MMO Until last year, when Blizzard and NetEase couldn’t agree on financial terms, the project was canceled.

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