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World of Warcraft: A popular game that returns to China

World of Warcraft: A popular game that returns to China

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Chinese company NetEase and game publisher Activision Blizzard have ended their dispute

  • author, Mariko oy
  • Role, Business reporter

Popular games like World of Warcraft will return to China this summer, according to Chinese video game giant NetEase.

Last year, NetEase and game developer Activision Blizzard ended their 14-year partnership over a dispute over intellectual property oversight.

The separation sparked intense anger, with millions of Chinese internet users complaining that they would lose access to their favorite games.

All games require a local publisher and licenses from the Chinese government to operate there.

The previous dispute escalated into an open dispute that led to the two companies suing each other.

“We are extremely grateful for the passion the Chinese community has shown for Blizzard games over the years,” said Joanna Farris, President of Blizzard Entertainment, He said in a statement.

“We are focused on returning our worlds to players with excellence and dedication.”

Other Blizzard games that will be returning to China include the Hearthstone, Warcraft, Overwatch, Diablo, and StarCraft series.

China is the world's largest online gaming market, with domestic revenue rising 13% to 303bn yuan ($42bn, £33) at the end of last year.

NetEase is the country's second-largest video game company by revenue after Tencent.

Microsoft and NetEase also said they have agreed to explore bringing new NetEase titles to Microsoft's Xbox gaming consoles and other gaming platforms.

“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,” said Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming.

This lucrative sector has also witnessed frequent disputes with the authorities.

Beijing first moved against the gaming sector in 2021, ruling that online players under 18 would only be allowed to play for an hour on Fridays, weekends and holidays.

Late last year, authorities announced further restrictions to limit in-game purchases, but China appears to have backed away from strict rules to combat what the regulator deemed “obsessive” gaming.

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