Blizzard Shutting Down In China is one of the most impactful recent events that impacted the gaming world. Whether you like Blizzard games or not, it is a basic fact that many of the most popular and trailblazing titles came from Blizzard. At first glance, it might seem that China just “banned an American company” because there is a sort of cold war between nations. There is some evidence that says the opposite.
What does the Blizzard shutting down in China entail?
As of a few days ago, most of the Blizzard games are inaccessible/offline in China. Titles like Starcraft, Warcraft, World Of Warcraft, Diablo, and Hearthstone are unplayable at the moment and the future doesn’t seem too bright for them in China. The only fully playable game is Diablo Immortal which falls under a separate agreement and is “spared” in this fiasco. We don’t find much relief there as we find Diablo Immortal just a mobile money grab, not a Blizzard standard.
Millions of players are devastated by this as these games are extremely popular in China and a lot of players dedicated a lot of time, money, and energy to playing these games. Furthermore, there is a reason why the majority of Blizzard games are on our list of best pc games of all time. These games are simply timeless and to rip them away from players that have been playing them for years or even decades is just brutal.
World of Warcraft farewell party in China.
Issues with licensing
The biggest factor that played into this demise is that the licensing company NetEase and Blizzard couldn’t find a mutual agreement. We have a strong hunch that the reason Blizzard shutting down happened was that someone in the Blizzard upper management had their own “vision”. We all saw the pattern of Blizzard’s poor behavior over the course of the last few years. Of course, we would all hope it comes to an end, but the company just surprises us with new bad ways of going about things.
There were hints of frictions between Blizzard and NetEase, with Simon Zhu, NetEase president of global investment and partnership, posting a bitter message on LinkedIn where he pins blame on a single 'jerk' but stopped short of revealing what exactly caused the divorce. 14/ pic.twitter.com/ivU08G8pbf
— Josh Ye (@TheRealJoshYe) November 17, 2022
On the other hand, we all know how China’s strong censorship policies can have an impact on partnerships and it is worthwhile to investigate it in this case. Moreover, sources that are in close contact with the discussions have said that the main reasons that the deal fell apart had to do with NetEase (China company) demanding ownership of intellectual property and full control on data on all players across China.
World Of Warcraft Progress – Top Priority. One of the higher-ups, John Hight assures the WoW players that their precious progress from years of playing will be saved and that they will continue their journey when Blizzard finds a new distributor in China.
NetEase Strikes Back
Blizzard shutting down in China has NetEase furious. After the agreement was terminated, NetEase began being very hostile towards Blizzard. From an agreement that made both companies and players extremely happy, to a horrible lose-lose situation for all parties involved. NetEase employees went from blatant insults and name-calling to destroying their Blizzard Orc Axe statue that has been a symbol of partnership.
The lesser of two evils?
Of course, we are very reluctant to take sides here. We all know that China has notorious policies surrounding censorship, data control, and just overall transparency. On the other hand, Blizzard is just so good at being a horrible company for the last several years. The things that made Blizzard stand out (creating games with huge quality and passion) have just turned into pure corporate greed that overshadows many talented people that still work for Blizzard.
Furthermore, we can’t ignore the fact that Blizzard has been sucking up to China during the last few years purely for profit reasons. The most noted one was the famous Blitzchung controversy when Blizzard banned a pro player who was supporting pro-Hong Kong in order to appeal to China’s government. Whatever you think of the whole Hong Kong situation, banning a player that loves your games and makes their bread from it to suck up to foreign governments just doesn’t sit well with us. For the most part, we feel bad for the players that are affected by Blizzard shutting down in China.
The future of Blizzard in China
As we said, for the most part, we are sad for millions of players losing access to their favorite game. We hope Blizzard will find a way forward and strike up a deal with another distributor sooner than later. At this point, we don’t root for the company, but rather only for the players. As for NetEase, we don’t have a strong opinion besides the fact that they responded pretty poorly in the aftermath with a very emotional response.