NetEase and Blizzard’s partnership might not mean too much in North America, but was the reason why Blizzard games were available in one of the world’s largest gaming markets. That partnership is dead as of today and according to one senior NetEase figure, it’s all because of one “jerk.”
Simon Zhu, a 10-year veteran at NetEase who has held several senior positions at the company, including President of Global Investment and Partnership, wrote a short post on LinkedIn mourning the end of the NetEase and Blizzard partnership.
“As a gamer who spent ten thousand hours in the world of Azeroth, starcraft and overwatch, I feel so heartbroken as I will no longer have the access to my account and memories next year,” Zhu writes. “One day, when what has happened behind the scene could be told, developers and gamers will have a whole new understanding of how much damage a jerk can make.”
Activision Blizzard announced that several game franchises including Overwatch, Diablo, and World of Warcraft will become unplayable in CHina starting on January 23, 2023.
The company said it couldn’t reach a new deal with NetEase, the Chinese company responsible for publishing Blizzard games in the country and a necessary partner to navigate China’s publishing bureaucracy.
Mobile games like Diablo: Immortal, will still be playable as they fall under a separate agreement.
“We’re immensely grateful for the passion our Chinese community has shown throughout the nearly 20 years we’ve been bringing our games to China through NetEase and our partners,” Blizzard said in a statement.
But from Zhu’s perspective, it sounds like they view a lone “jerk” individual at Blizzard as responsible for the partnership’s end. However, it’s unclear who that person may be and what exactly they did to end the partnership.
Matt T.M. Kim is IGN’s News Editor. You can reach him @lawoftd.
Source: IGN Video Games All