Blizzard Entertainment and NetEase Suspend Game Services in China


IRVINE, Calif.–(BUSINESS PROPERTY)–Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today NetEase, Inc. has announced that it will discontinue most Blizzard game services in mainland China due to the expiration of its existing license agreements with on January 23, 2023. It includes. World of Warcraft®, Hearthstone®, Warcraft® III: Rebuilt, Overwatch®, the StarCraft® series, Diablo III®and Heroes of the storm®. Diablo Immortal® co-development and publishing are covered under a separate agreement between the two companies.

Blizzard Entertainment has had licensing agreements with NetEase since 2008 covering the publishing of these Blizzard titles in China. The two parties have not agreed to renew the contracts, which are consistent with Blizzard’s operating principles and commitment to players and employees, and the contracts will expire in January 2023.

We will be suspending new sales in the coming days and Chinese players will receive details on how this will work soon. future releases for World of Warcraft: Dragonflight, Hearthstone: March of the Lich King, and season 2 Overwatch 2 will continue at the end of this year.

“We are very grateful for the passion of the Chinese community for nearly 20 years of bringing our games to China through NetEase and other partners,” said Mike Ybarra, president of Blizzard Entertainment. “We are inspired by their enthusiasm and creativity, and we are looking for alternatives to bring our games back to players in the future.”

About Blizzard Entertainment, Inc

It is famous for its popular video game universes, including Warcraft®Overwatch®Diablo®and StarCraft®, Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., a division of Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI ). (www.blizzard.com), is a leading developer and publisher of entertainment experiences. Blizzard Entertainment has created some of the industry’s most critically acclaimed and genre-defining games over the past 30 years, with a track record that includes multiple Game of the Year awards. Blizzard Entertainment engages tens of millions of players worldwide with titles available on PC through Battle.net.®Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, iOS and Android.

Caution Regarding Forward-Looking Statements: Statements herein that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, statements about our plans and objectives, including those related to the release of products or services. Activision Blizzard, Inc. generally uses words such as “look”, “forecast”, “will”, “may”, “should”, “will”, “be”, “plan”, “intend”, “believe”. “” “may”, “might”, “expects”, “intends”, “seeks”, “expects”, “estimates”, “future”, “position”, “potential”, “project”, “remain,” “planned,” “scheduled,” “current,” “future” and the negative version of these words and other similar words and expressions help identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are subject to business and economic risks, reflect management’s current expectations, estimates and projections regarding our business and are inherently uncertain and difficult to predict.

We caution that a number of important factors, many of which are beyond our control, could cause our actual future results and other future circumstances to differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to: NetEase, Inc. the expected effect of the conclusion of the contract with; the effect of the announcement or unanticipation of the proposed transaction with Microsoft Corporation (“Microsoft”) on our business relationships, results of operations and business generally; the risks that the proposed transaction with Microsoft would disrupt our current plans and operations and difficulties in retaining employees as a result of the proposed transaction with Microsoft; the global impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and other macroeconomic factors (including, without limitation, the potential for significant short- and long-term global unemployment and economic weakness and the resulting impact on global discretionary spending; potential strain on retailers, the ability to deliver our physical products to customers and certain games on their networks and consoles distributors and manufacturers who sell to platform providers where they are available; effects on our ability to release our content in a timely and effective quality control manner; prevent cybersecurity incidents while our workforce is dispersed; effects on the operations of our professional sports leagues; and macroeconomic effects resulting from the prolonged duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, including labor shortages and supply chain disruptions); our ability to consistently deliver popular, high-quality titles on time, which has been made more difficult by the COVID-19 pandemic; our ability to attract, retain and motivate qualified personnel; the risks and uncertainties of doing business outside of the United States of America (“US”), including the need for regulatory approval to operate; risks related to the conduct of our distributors, retailers, development and licensing partners or other related third parties that could harm our brands or business operations; our reliance on third-party tools and technologies; interruptions, disruptions or degradation of our services, products and/or technological infrastructure; data breaches, fraudulent activity and other cybersecurity risks; increased regulation in key areas; Internet regulation, including potential harm from laws affecting “net neutrality”; data privacy regulation, including the Personal Data Protection Law of China; bankruptcy or business failure of any of our growing business partners as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; and other factors included in Item 1A “Risk Factors” of Part I of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021 filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The forward-looking statements herein are based on information available to Activision Blizzard, Inc. as of the date of this filing, and we undertake no obligation to update any such forward-looking statements. Actual events or results may differ materially from those expressed in forward-looking statements. Accordingly, you should not rely on forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. We base the forward-looking statements contained herein on our current expectations and projections about future events and trends that we believe may affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, prospects, strategy and financial needs. These statements are not guarantees of our future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of which are beyond our control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations.



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