World of Warcraft will no longer be available in China
The licensing contract between Activision Blizzards and NetEase, the company that offers accessibility to the games in China,
Several popular Activision Blizzard video games, including World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Hearthstone, Starcraft, Heroes of the Storm, and Diablo 3, will no longer be available in China come January 2023.
The 14-year-old license contract between the game producer and NetEase, the company that offers accessibility to the games in China, has not been renewed.
It is worth noting that for any games to be sold in China, a local publisher and government licenses are required. Activision stated that it was exploring options but in the meantime, all sales will be halted in the coming days.
The process of finding a new publisher and new licenses could take considerable time.
William Ding, the CEO of NetEase, said that the business had attempted to negotiate with Activision with "utmost sincerity." According to Ding, "There were material differences on key terms and we couldn't come to an agreement."
One of the biggest game companies in the world, Activision claimed it had been unable to come to an agreement that adhered to its "operating principles and commitments to players and employees."
While Activision Blizzard was a service that NetEase has been running at a loss, China has been home to an estimated three million World of Warcraft users.
As per Activision, the NetEase agreement accounted for approximately 3% of its net revenues in the previous year, making $264mn, approximately, in sales.
On a different but similar note, Microsoft is attempting to buy Activision for $68.7bn by June 2023, despite scrutiny from a UK Competition watchdog.
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