Video game major Blizzard Entertainment is set to cease operations in China because it failed to extend its agreement with Chinese company NetEase.
This means that players based in the country will need to connect to the best Chinese VPN services to continue playing the likes of World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, or Starcraft.
The news comes as a subsidiary of US video game giant Activision Blizzard reported that NetEase had refused to extend a 14-year licensing deal, which is about to expire, that allows Blizzard games to be distributed across mainland China.
Diablo Immortal will be the only game released under a separate contract. Other addresses will not be available to users connected within country borders from January 23 onwards.
After the update from Blizzard Entertainment, which lamented its inability to negotiate a six-month extension before shutting down Blizzard games in China, NetEase issued a fiery response and demolished the local Orc statue live. https://t.co/OQ4Q8xlHus pic.twitter.com/AfOe9rEiGsJanuary 18, 2023
Tensions rise between Blizzard and NetEase
The video game provider announced: “Unfortunately, NetEase is unwilling to extend the service by six months based on the terms of the existing partnership while we search for a new partner.” (Opens in a new tab) via its Weibo page on January 17.
NetEase and Blizzard Entertainment first reported the end of their commercial agreement in November last year. Blizzard stated that it was trying to negotiate another six-month extension, which is the time to look for another partner and continue with distribution. NetEase refused.
Blizzard assures users that “we won’t give up and we’ll still do our best for everyone. We want you to understand it’s not over yet. We’ll still try to find a national partner who shares our beliefs.”
in quick response (Opens in a new tab)NetEase lamented how the six-month extension deal was proposed just a week ago, calling the move “disproportionate” and “unfair”.
“In our view, Blizzard’s proposal—including today’s surprise announcement—is frank, indecent, and commercially inconsequential,” NetEase wrote, describing such behavior as “riding a mule while looking for a horse, getting divorced but still trying to live together.”
The China-based game distributor also denied speculation that it wanted to take control of Blizzard’s IP addresses, and promised that it would do its best to serve users to the end.
Some of the games that are set to suffer include World of Warcraft, World of Warcraft 3: Reforged, Diablo 3, Overwatch 1 and 2, Heroes of the Storm, the Starcraft series, and Hearthstone.
Blizzard Entertainment said it’s still looking for a partner, but experts don’t expect it (Opens in a new tab) The titles will be released at any time this year due to strict regulatory action.
Meanwhile, Blizzard developers recommend that Chinese gamers back up all their data so that game progress is stored until the next release.
How a Chinese VPN can help
As mentioned above, players playing across mainland China will need to turn to a VPN service to continue playing all their favorite Blizzard games.
VPN is software capable of spoofing users’ IP addresses. That’s because your internet traffic will look like it’s coming from one of its many international servers instead. Players can then trick their ISP into thinking they are in a completely different country in seconds.
A gaming VPN is beneficial in terms of performance. Being able to switch between different servers can help them avoid ISP throttling and increase ping rates, for example.
In addition, this security software is recommended for daily use as well. For people who live in countries like China, this is a huge necessity.
A browsing scam is necessary to access a long list of censored websites, for example. By encrypting all the data that leaves the device, a VPN is also needed to escape online surveillance.