NetEase has established itself as a gaming juggernaut over the years, and this week they’ve publicly condemned Blizzard due to a rift in their longstanding relationship.
NetEase has been responsible for publishing Blizzard titles in China for the past 14 years, in a deal that has surely been lucrative for both companies involved. This week, reports suggest that the longstanding partnership has not only dissolved late 2022, but NetEase is being remarkably petty about the situation, reportedly refusing to extend their partnership another six months for fans to continue playing Blizzard titles, and even tearing down a World of Warcraft statue of Gorehowl outside their offices that handle Blizzard games in an event that could be called a symbol for their collapsed relationship.
NetEase President of Global Investment and Partnership, Simon Zhu stated when the relationship collapsed “As a gamer who spent 10,000 hours in the world of Azeroth, Starcraft and Overwatch, I feel so heartbroken as I will not longer have the access to my account and memories next year,” along with a harrowing “One day, when what has happened behind the scene could be told, developers and gamers will have a whole new level understanding of how much damage a jerk can make,” regarding the deterioration of the relationship.
Today, a more winded statement can be read via the NetEase Weibo page which was published on January 17 (loosely Google Translated) which outlines the separation. Blizzard has yet to issue another statement on the matter after the January 17 report from Reuters, but NetEase seems to be fully pointing the finger with “We believe that Blizzard’s proposal – including today’s sudden statement – is outrageous, inappropriate, and not in line with business logic. Its excessive self-confidence did not take into account the behavior of this kind of behavior of taking whatever it wants,” including “we are obliged to remind all players that this function was unilaterally proposed and developed by Blizzard,” regarding the uncertain future.
While Blizzard has said they’ve tried to extend their deal with NetEase, the relationship has seemingly deteriorated to the point of no return with both parties pointing the finger at one another. Fans will need to sit tight to see what happens next in this saga.