Fans of Blizzard games like World of Warcraft and Overwatch in China are in mourning following the shutdown of the majority of Blizzard game services in the country, after Activision Blizzard and China’s NetEase Games failed to renew their licensing agreement.
The two companies had been partners for 14 years, with Blizzard’s MMORPG having operated in the country for a few years under a separate company prior to Blizzard and NetEase’s partnership. The handoff between WoW’s former operator in China and NetEase in 2009 was the first time WoW shut down in the region, though it was for only a few months.
Activision Blizzard announced late last year that it would not be renewing its contract with NetEase, with game services set to end on January 23. That time has now come to pass, as WoW players in China have been forced to download nearly two decades worth of character data in the hope that the game’s servers will one day return and their characters can be restored.
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Author: Cameron Koch