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World of Warcraft Game Return to China

World of Warcraft
  • World of Warcraft and other popular games set to return to China this summer under NetEase after fallout with Activision Blizzard.
  • Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard and partnership with NetEase signals renewed access to Chinese market amid regulatory changes in gaming industry.

Popular games, like World of Warcraft, will return to China this summer, According to China’s video gaming giant NetEase.

Last year, NetEase and games publisher Activision Blizzard parted ways following an impasse in determining intellectual property control issues.

As a result, millions of Chinese internet users expressed dismay about losing access to their favorite games.

All games need a local publisher and permission from the Chinese government to operate within China.

An initial disagreement escalated into a fierce rivalry that resulted in both companies filing suits against one another.

However, tension subsided after Microsoft purchased Activision Blizzard for $69bn (PS54bn), the single biggest acquisition deal in the gaming industry’s history.

“Blizzard Entertainment is truly humbled by the dedication shown to our games by Chinese communities over many years,” Johanna Faries, President of Blizzard Entertainment, said in a statement.

“Our aim is to deliver universes back to players with excellence and dedication.”

Hearthstone, Warcraft, Overwatch, Diablo, and StarCraft will also return to China as franchise games.

China remains the global leader in online gaming, with domestic revenue increasing 13% year-on-year, reaching an astounding total of 303 billion yuan ($42bn; PS33).

NetEase is the second-biggest video games company in China in terms of revenue after Tencent.

Microsoft and NetEase also announced they have agreed to bring new NetEase titles to Microsoft Xbox gaming consoles and its other gaming platforms.

“Bringing back Blizzard’s timeless games back into China while investigating ways of adding even more new titles demonstrates Microsoft Gaming’s dedication to expanding gaming globally,” according to Phil Spencer, the head of Microsoft Gaming.

Unfortunately, this lucrative sector has had frequent run-ins with authorities.

Beijing began taking steps against the gaming industry in 2021 by mandating that online gamers under 18 may only participate in playing for one hour each Friday, weekend, and holiday.

Late last year, China issued further restrictions on in-game purchases but is allegedly shifting away from strict laws designed to counter what It deemed excessive gaming activity.

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