Blizzard will cease operating in China and will have to suspend all of its services in the country permanently. As many of our readers will know, the well-known studio was purchased at the time by Activision, which later formed the Activision Blizzard group (King is also owned by Activision).
Blizzard online games are no longer available in China at the time of writing this article, including games like World of Warcraft, which operates under a paid monthly subscription model, as well as other important ones like Hearthstone, Diablo 3, and Overwatch.
Games that work offline have not been affected, but it is important to remember that this does not only affect online services, but also the publication and sale of games, which means that Blizzard will not be able to continue buying them in China in a legally binding way. This is not a problem for Blizzard, since this year it intends to release Diablo IV, one of its most important triple A games.
The reason for what happened is quite simple. NetEase was the one responsible for managing all of the American's business in China, including compliance with current legislation and the location of servers, as well as the administration of payments.
William Ding, NetEase's CEO, has confirmed that substantial disagreements occurred during the negotiation of the major terms for the relaunch of the agreement with Blizzard, and that the agreement would not be terminated because to the absence of a meeting point.. The American business has not yet given up on returning to the Chinese market, and has confirmed that this will not be the end.
Despite these assertions, the situation is complex, and it is clear that Blizzard will have to make substantial concessions if it wants to reclaim the Chinese market. I feel a great loss for the Chinese players, because in the end they may lose all of the enjoyment they have earned over the years.