Blizzard will withdraw games from China because it was unable to reach an agreement with its licensing and publishing partner NetEase. Games such as Hearthstone, Diablo III, Overwatch 2, and Starcraft will all go offline in China on January 23, 2023.
Since 2008, Blizzard has collaborated with NetEase to provide access to its games in mainland China. However, Blizzard will pause game sales as well as provide guidance to Chinese gamers “in the coming days.”
Diablo Immortal development will continue because it is a separate agreement, according to a statement from NetEase. As per Blizzard, Dragonflight and the second season of Overwatch 2 will “continue later this year.”
The license issues began in August, when two businesses couldn’t come to an agreement and canceled a World of Warcraft mobile game.
Blizzard president Mike Ybarra stated that:
“We’re immensely grateful for the passion our Chinese community has shown throughout the nearly 20 years we’ve been bringing our games to China,” and “We are looking for alternatives to bring our games back to players in the future.”
If the two companies cannot reach an agreement, many players and large tournaments in China would suffer.