Home Blizzard and NetEase renew partnership bringing games back to China

Blizzard and NetEase renew partnership bringing games back to China


  • Blizzard has struck a deal with NetEase to bring its games back to China by summer 2024.
  • The agreement covers titles like World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, and others in Warcraft, Overwatch, Diablo, and StarCraft universes.
  • Microsoft Gaming and NetEase will explore bringing new NetEase titles to Xbox consoles and other platforms.

Blizzard has made a new deal to bring its games back to China a year and a half after NetEase and the Microsoft-owned developer parted ways.

Blizzard confirmed that all the games covered by the previous publishing agreement, including World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, “and other titles in the Warcraft, Overwatch, Diablo, and StarCraft universes,” will return to the Chinese market by summer 2024.

According to a statement on Blizzard’s website, Microsoft Gaming and NetEase have also entered into a separate agreement to explore bringing new NetEase titles to Xbox consoles and other platforms.

“We at Blizzard are thrilled to reestablish our partnership with NetEase and to work together, with a deep appreciation for the collaboration between our teams, to deliver legendary gaming experiences to players in China,” said Johanna Faries, president of Blizzard Entertainment. “We are immensely grateful for the passion the Chinese community has shown for Blizzard games throughout the years, and we are focused on bringing our universes back to players with excellence and dedication.”

Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer agreed, saying: “Returning Blizzard’s legendary 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.”

What happened between NetEase and Blizzard?

Since 2008, NetEase had been the publisher for Blizzard’s games in mainland China. However, this partnership came to an end when their agreement expired in January 2023 and was not renewed. NetEase, which is based in Hangzhou, previously said Blizzard games only contributed a low-single-digit percentage of its revenue and profit. According to Rest of World, World of Warcraft had over three million registered users in China at that time. The Chinese gaming industry is the largest in the world and includes industry behemoth Tencent Holdings.

“We have put in a great deal of effort and tried with our utmost sincerity to negotiate with Activision Blizzard so that we could continue our collaboration and serve the many dedicated players in China,” NetEase founder and chief executive officer William Ding said at the time. He added that “material differences on key terms” prevented a new deal from being reached. However, Ding has since stated that “we are thrilled to embark on the next chapter”.

Featured image: Canva

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Suswati Basu
Tech journalist

Suswati Basu is a multilingual, award-winning editor and the founder of the intersectional literature channel, How To Be Books. She was shortlisted for the Guardian Mary Stott Prize and longlisted for the Guardian International Development Journalism Award. With 18 years of experience in the media industry, Suswati has held significant roles such as head of audience and deputy editor for NationalWorld news, digital editor for Channel 4 News and ITV News. She has also contributed to the Guardian and received training at the BBC As an audience, trends, and SEO specialist, she has participated in panel events alongside Google. Her…

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