Blizzard Statues Destroyed at NetEase Offices as Relationship Sours

Blizzard, NetEase Clash Ahead of American Gaming Giant’s China Exit

A sign of the times: ‘World of Warcraft’ statues and displays were demolished at the NetEase office complex, and the destruction was livestreamed on China’s version of TikTok

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Hayley Zhao
7:11 AM HKT, Tue January 24, 2023 1 mins read

After shocking China-based fans by announcing the end of its collaboration with long-time Chinese partner NetEase two months ago, Blizzard Entertainment is again the talk of the Chinese internet, thanks to a notice sent to its users on January 17.

Blizzard claimed in the message that it tried to postpone its departure for another six months so users could still enjoy games like World of Warcraft while the company searched for a new partner in China. However, the negotiation went awry as NetEase turned down the proposal.

The American gaming giant will still end services on the Chinses mainland on January 23, the previously agreed-upon date.

Chinese cosplay performers pose at a booth for the popular Blizzard game World of Warcraft during an exhibition in Beijing on October 23, 2008. Image via Depositphotos

In response to Blizzard’s narrative, NetEase clapped back by releasing a statement the following day, criticizing Blizzard for only bringing up the postponement a week before they were supposed to cease services for users.

NetEase also blasted the sudden statement published by Blizzard, calling it rude and inappropriate. NetEase stated that delaying the departure time to buy time to find a new partner is like “finalizing a divorce without actually separating.”

Many Chinese netizens are equally angered by Blizzard’s announcement, calling the company’s behavior shameless and praising NetEase for standing up for itself.

“What Blizzard did was totally unethical as a business partner,” wrote one user on Weibo, China’s top microblogging site.

Other Blizzard game players expressed frustration and noted that they don’t want to side with either party. Instead, they want the issue resolved so they can continue playing their beloved games.

world of warcraft, netease, blizzard

The demolition of statues and displays from a popular Blizzard game is livestreamed to the public on China’s version of TikTok. Screengrab via Douyin

The future of Blizzard games in China remains to be determined as the tension between the two former partners continues to build.

On the afternoon of January 18, workers took down the World of Warcraft statues and displays within the NetEase office complex. The demolition was livestreamed on Douyin, China’s version of TikTok, by the official account of NARAKA: BLADEPOINT (永劫无间), a game developed by NetEase.

Cover image via Depositphotos

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