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Activision Blizzard blames NetEase for its game services going offline in China next week

NetEase reportedly refused Activision Blizzard's request for a six month extension, with its game services currently set to go offline in China on January 23.


Activision Blizzard is in a bit of a predicament at the moment when it comes to its game services in China, with said services for popular titles like World of Warcraft set to end later this month on January 23. The reason for this, according to Activision Blizzard, is long-time partner NetEase which recently declined the company’s proposal for a six month extension of its former 14-year publishing agreement which was revealed to be coming to a close back in November of last year.

"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 remarked in a recent statement made to microblogging site Weibo.

As reported by outlets like Reuters, NetEase claimed in an earnings briefing back in November that it had “made the utmost effort to negotiate but found the proposed terms requested by the U.S. company unacceptable.” Following this in December, Activision Blizzard noted that it was currently in talks with a number of new, potential partners. Unfortunately, those talks seemingly haven’t progressed far enough to prevent its game services from going offline in China at the aforementioned date of January 23.

Promo image for Activision Blizzard's popular title World of Warcraft
© Activision Blizzard

To further elaborate on why, the complicated situation Activision Blizzard finds itself in stems from the way games are published in China as a whole, with all games required to have a Chinese publisher along with government licenses to operate within the region. NetEase served as this publisher for Activision Blizzard for 14 years, but now with the two companies parting ways, Activision Blizzard is left needing to find a comparable replacement.

As the situation develops and additional updates are shared, we’ll be sure to keep you posted in regards to things like new partnerships Activision Blizzard enters that allows it to resume game services and sales in China. For more Activision Blizzard news, be sure to catch up with some of our previous coverage on topics including Google and Nvidia expressing concerns to the FTC over Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, and Activision Blizzard refusing to acknowledge Proletariat Games’ union without an NLRB vote.

Senior Editor

Morgan is a writer from the frozen wastelands of Maine who enjoys metal music, kpop, horror, and indie games. They're also a Tetris fanatic who's fiercely competitive in games like Tetris 99... and all games in general. But mostly Tetris. You can follow Morgan on Twitter @Author_MShaver.

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