The return of World of Warcraft to China

Exciting updates from Chinese video games giant NetEasDe reveal that popular games like World of Warcraft will be making a comeback in China this summer.

Last year, NetEase and game developer Activision Blizzard terminated their long-standing partnership after a disagreement regarding intellectual property control.

The breakup caused a wave of dissatisfaction among countless Chinese internet users who expressed concerns about losing access to their beloved games.

Operating games in China necessitates a local publisher and licences from the Chinese government.

The previous dispute escalated into a public feud that resulted in both companies filing lawsuits against each other.

However, the tension subsided following Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard for a staggering $69bn (£54bn) in October of last year, marking a monumental milestone in the gaming industry.

“The Chinese community’s support for Blizzard games over the years has been greatly appreciated,” stated Johanna Faries, president of Blizzard Entertainment.

“Our top priority is ensuring that our universes are brought back to players with the utmost commitment and a relentless pursuit of excellence.”

China will see the return of other Blizzard titles, such as Hearthstone, Warcraft, Overwatch, Diablo, and StarCraft franchises.

China’s online gaming market is the largest in the world, with domestic revenue increasing by 13% to 303 billion yuan ($42bn; £33) by the end of last year.

NetEase is one of the leading players in the video games industry in terms of revenue, following closely behind Tencent.

Microsoft and NetEase have announced their collaboration to potentially introduce new NetEase titles to Microsoft’s Xbox gaming consoles and other gaming platforms.

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Bringing back Blizzard’s iconic games to players in China and exploring opportunities to introduce new titles to Xbox showcases our dedication to expanding the gaming experience for players worldwide’, stated Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming.

The highly profitable industry has also faced numerous encounters with law enforcement.

In 2021, Beijing took action against the gaming sector by implementing a rule that restricts online gamers under the age of 18 to only one hour of playtime on Fridays, weekends, and holidays.

In a surprising turn of events, China appears to have reversed its strict regulations aimed at curbing “obsessive” gaming. Late last year, authorities had announced additional restrictions on in-game purchases, but it seems that those measures have been reconsidered.

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