As usual for many companies that are not owned by China or have close ties with the country, the cost of doing business in the Chinese market is that brands typically need to go through a China-owned business, which is what Activision-Blizzard had been doing to keep it’s myriad of video games accessible to Chinese consumers.
For many years, this was done through a partnership with the company NetEase, who last year announced that they would not be renewing their contract with Blizzard to secure licensing for its games in China. With the fateful January date for the end of service quickly approaching, Blizzard ultimately failed to negotiate a replacement service in time, leading to all of the developer’s games now ceasing their service in the Chinese market, much to the chagrin of gamers who were fed up with the company.
Overwatch 2 has been shut down in mainland China 🇨🇳
After NetEase and Blizzard Entertainment were unable to come to an agreement, the licence has come to an end. It is unclear when Blizzard will be able to find a new partner. pic.twitter.com/x58RtgQRZs
— Overwatch Cavalry 🇬🇧 (@OverwatchCaval) January 23, 2023
i think its funny that overwatch 2 is celebrating chinese new year while china cant even play the game
— bogur – CEO of Winton (@b0gur) January 23, 2023
China is free from Overwatch 2 https://t.co/ZOrlznAwnp pic.twitter.com/h4nIzqnMGq
— ZenBooda1 (@ZenBooda1) January 24, 2023
Overwatch 2, World of Warcraft, and Hearthstone officially shut down in China. pic.twitter.com/S2fj7lKmw5
— Esports (@esports) January 24, 2023
What a large number of gamers following the news find extra sweet about the service stoppage is Blizzard being spurned by the country that was the main cause behind the infamous 2019 Blizzard Boycott, which came about as the brand started to clamp down on players expressing their wish for a Free Hong Kong.
This culminated in the player-created design and pushing of a Pro-Hong Kong Mei, entirely made out of spite from fans aimed at Blizzard for its stance during that time. This irony is far from lost on gamers amid the breaking story, who are now keen to push a narrative that Blizzard Entertainment tried hard to be pro-China, but still got kicked to the curb in the end.
It’s funny that Overwatch 2 was originally announced in Oct 2019 as a way to distract from Blizzard censoring Hong Kong players in an at attempt to appeal to China… and now Overwatch 2 is unavailable in China anyway.
— @email@example.com🦦 🏳️🌈 (@chimeracoder) January 23, 2023
Blizzard after spending the last years licking China’s balls and getting their reputation ruined only for Overwatch 2 getting banned on China https://t.co/mcaBefCtMq pic.twitter.com/zcnJpIxXCV
— Kaitlyn 🇵🇹 (@KatyTheBun) January 24, 2023
Blizzard, after tanking their company, customer goodwill and reputation sucking up to China: https://t.co/1nSbWdRJI5 pic.twitter.com/dGr9JXzUMl
— Battles (@Battle_Stories) January 24, 2023
Blizzard & Tencent failed to come to an agreement to continue publishing WoW in China.
As a result, Tencent has a new game coming soon that’s….. totally not WoW. pic.twitter.com/AQXwIcayh4
— Force (@ForceStrategy) January 18, 2023
Along with news of Blizzard’s games being pushed out of China, there are rumors and rumblings of Tencent, the largest game developer in China, coming out with their own MMO in the near future, with many believing it to be a deliberate and calculated attempt at pushing its own World of Warcraft.
BECAUSE Blizzard thought they could brush off a valuable competitive partner, that’s put them in a CHASM:
◈ The need to RE-LICENSE all their games for China, which takes years.
riotgames</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/LeagueOfLegends?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">LeagueOfLegends MMO on the horizon
◈ Tencent answering with their own MMO: Tarisland pic.twitter.com/FCXZbydrj4
— PlayerIGN (@PlayerIGN) January 20, 2023
This is not a joke. This is not sarcasm.https://t.co/5RFPnNfkYW
Tencent just did something nobody thought was possible.
— Stix (@ByteStix) January 19, 2023
BREAKING: Tencent unveils new MMO, Tarisland, as a rival to World of Warcraft in China amidst Blizzard’s ongoing feud with NetEase.
— Pixel Mix (@ThePixelMix) January 20, 2023