June 16, 2024

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Blizzard Games is returning to China under a new agreement with NetEase

Blizzard Games is returning to China under a new agreement with NetEase

Blizzard has Announce Its games will return to mainland China in the summer of 2024 after nearly a year and a half out of the market. Additionally, Microsoft (which now owns Blizzard) and NetEase entered into another separate agreement to bring NetEase games to Xbox and other platforms.

Blizzard's offline games were shut down in China in January 2023 after NetEase and Blizzard were unable to reach a new publishing deal. However, both companies have now reached one. The deal will include all the games Chinese players had access to from the previous agreement, including games like Overwatch, Diablo, and World of Warcraft.

While the two parties are working to relaunch the games, more details will be revealed later. Phil Spencer praised Microsoft's new partnership with NetEase, saying: “Bringing back legendary Blizzard games to players in China while exploring ways to bring more new titles to Xbox demonstrates our commitment to bringing more games to more players around the world.” However, Spencer did not provide any further details.

This new deal comes after a minor disagreement between Blizzard and NetEase in November 2022 when their original publishing contract was about to expire. Blizzard China and NetEase have been pointing fingers at each other, with the former offering to extend services, but the latter declining, with one NetEase executive claiming that the original deal extension fell apart due to one specific “foolishness.”

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Either way, Blizzard was committed to looking for alternative ways to bring its games back to the Chinese market, but it has finally reached a new agreement with NetEase.

George Yang is a freelance writer for IGN. He's been writing about the industry since 2019 and has worked with other publications like Insider, Kotaku, NPR, and Variety.

When he's not writing about video games, George plays video games. what a surprise! You can follow him on Twitter @Yinyangfooey