Further Statements from NetEase - Dragonflight Will Launch on Schedule
Following Activision Blizzard's announcement that
services in China would be shut down
, further statements from NetEase clarify that Dragonflight will still launch on schedule and be available for play until the licensing agreement expires on January 23rd, while promising to continue negotiations to the greatest extent possible. Both have been translated below.
NetEase News Statement
In contrast to Blizzard's very businesslike
announcement of the shut down of services
, the first statement is an apologetic retrospective from
, citing the 14 year history between NetEase and Blizzard Entertainment, while promising to continue to negotiate to the greatest extent possible.
Dear Blizzard gamers:
Due to the expiration of Activision Blizzard's license agreement with NetEase on January 23, 2023, Blizzard will discontinue most of its game services in mainland China (including World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Diablo III, StarCraft II, Heroes of the Storm) starting January 24 at 00:00, based on contractual restrictions, while Diablo: Immortals service will not be affected.
NetEase and Blizzard first partnered in 2008. Over the past 14 years, we have introduced Blizzard's high-quality games to China step by step, starting with World of Warcraft, and even synchronizing global release. Each time the introduction of the game, we are excited, because these games also carry our passion and youth.
Within NetEase, there are also several thousand hard-core fans of Blizzard games. Therefore, we are more empathetic to the feelings of players at this moment. Before today, we had been doing our best and negotiating with Blizzard in good faith to seek continued cooperation in mainland China.
However, after long negotiations, we were still unable to reach agreement with Activision Blizzard on some key terms of cooperation. Unfortunately, Activision Blizzard has announced earlier today that they are ceasing its cooperation and we will have to accept this decision. After January 23, 2023, NetEase will lose its distributorship and will no longer be able to continue to manage and operate these games that have carried players' memories for 14 years.
Next, NetEase Games will do its best to fulfill its responsibilities and serve players until the last moment. We promise that we will do our best to negotiate with Activision Blizzard to protect the interests of Chinese players to the greatest extent possible for the issues related to refunds, game data, virtual property, game rights, etc. that everyone is concerned about.
At the same time, we will work with Activision Blizzard to achieve "business to business, game to game", pay attention to the voice of players, value all that players have paid for the game, and properly protect everyone's game assets and memories. We will continue to inform players of the progress of the work through official channels such as the "Blizzard Game Service Center".
Once again, we thank all players for their understanding and support. If possible, we hope that Blizzard's departure is only temporary. After the shutdown, we will continue to hold on in our own way and not give up lightly. We believe that those who meet can meet again.
Blizzard China Statement
The second statement, posted on the
website (also operated by NetEase), echoes those sentiments while clarifying that World of Warcraft: Dragonflight, Hearthstone: March of the Lich King, and other game updates will launch on schedule and continue to be available to players until their licensing agreement expires on midnight of January 23rd, after which account/character information will be preserved and refunds will be arranged for any remaining virtual currency or game time.
To all of you, dear Blizzard gamers.
Thank you for your continued support and love of Blizzard products. We are honored to have worked with you for 14 years to create and share an unforgettable gaming experience, and once again, we thank you most sincerely!
Due to the expiration of our agreement with Blizzard Entertainment, World of Warcraft, Hearthstone Legend, Overwatch, Diablo III, StarCraft II, Warcraft III: Remastered, Heroes of the Storm (collectively referred to as "Blizzard products"), which are operated by Shanghai NetEase Network Technology Development Co, will terminate operation at 0:00 on January 24, 2023, and hereby notify the following matters related to the termination of operation in mainland China.
November 23, 2022 onwards, close the Blizzard game products in the Battle.net and the client paid service and user registration portal.
During the period from November 23, 2022 to January 23, 2023, the servers of Blizzard game products will be opened normally, and the content update of World of Warcraft "Dragonflight", Hearthstone Legend "The March Of The Lich King" and "Overwatch Season 2 " will be available as usual, and users can continue to log in and experience the game content. At the same time, users will still be able to spend their Battle.net points and virtual currency in their accounts.
From 0:00 on January 24, 2023, the operation of Blizzard game products will be officially stopped, Battle.net login and all game servers will be closed, as well as the client download.
After the game server is closed, all account data and character data in each game (including but not limited to character data, remaining game time, each game items, materials, subscription and paid information, etc.) will be sealed. We will properly handle the game data in accordance with the requirements of laws and regulations to protect the legitimate rights and interests of users.
For players who have paid but not consumed online game virtual currency and paid game time (if any) that has not yet expired, we will start to arrange refunds after Blizzard game products cease operation.
Statement from Simon Zhu, President of NetEase Global Investment
On a more personal note, Global Investment and Partnership of NetEase Games President Simon Zhu also commented on the situation in a
post on LinkedIn
, lamenting the loss of his own characters and memories.
As a gamer who spent ten thousand hours in the world of Azeroth, starcraft and overwatch, I feel so heartbroken as I will not longer have the access to my account and memories next year.
One day, when what has happened behind the scene could be told, developers and gamers will have a whole new level understanding of how much damage a jerk can make.
Feel terrible for players who lived in those worlds.
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