Blizzard China Update - Extension Denied, NetEase Dissolves Blizzard Team
vor 18 tagen
Blizzard China has released a
noting their failure to negotiate a six month extension to the impending
shut down of Blizzard games services in China
on January 23rd, along with an update for Chinese players to backup their game progress and the continued search for a new publishing partner.
Extension No Go
According to the the lengthy statement, Blizzard reached out to NetEase about a possible six month extension to their licensing agreement, and although we don't know the details of the extension, it was turned down.
We approached NetEase again last week for assistance in exploring a six-month extension of our existing agreement, which is based on terms NetEase has agreed to in 2019, to allow everyone to continue playing without disruption and for Blizzard to continue exploring a reasonable and long-term path forward in the China region. Unfortunately, NetEase did not accept our proposal to extend the existing game service agreement following last week's extension negotiations. We will therefore have to comply with NetEase's offer. Therefore, we will have to follow NetEase's suspension announcement to discontinue the game service in China on January 23.
Perhaps related, we also learned that NetEase has already disbanded the local team working on titles licensed from Blizzard Entertainment, as reported by the South China Morning Post
via WCC Tech
. With those employees already laid off or reassigned, leaving only a skeleton crew of 10 to cover customer service and technical issues, it's unclear whether that had anything to do with NetEase's decision to turn down Blizzard's extension - it's also possible the terms of the deal were not favorable for them, or NetEase was simply tired of dealing with Blizzard, as some other sources have suggested.
Backup Game Data
Separately, the statement also included an update on the
previously announced plan to backup account data
, allowing players to save all of their game progress for a time in which service is restored. Blizzard will be rolling out the feature starting tomorrow, allowing players to create a local copy of their account and character information for safekeeping.
About player's progress archive:
It's important for everyone at Blizzard to properly save your game progress, items and memories - we create these worlds so that you can feel you are a part of them. We want you to be able to move on from where you left off. We hope that NetEase will follow its previous end of service announcement and properly seal all players' game data. To give CN World of Warcraft players an additional peace of mind, in addition to the game data sealing provided by NetEase; Blizzard will also launch a feature tomorrow (January 18, Beijing time) that will allow CN World of Warcraft players to download their game progress for the future. When the game comes back online in the future, you will be able to upload your saved game history in order to continue playing. This feature will continue to be available until the game ends service in China. We will share more information about the World of Warcraft progress archive with you on Weibo.
Searching for a New Partner
Finally, the release ends with another note that Blizzard is continuing to search for a new local licensing partner, again pointing to NetEase for failing to extend the existing agreement. How long it might take to find a partner and get everything set up is still unknown, though, and doesn't bode well for Chinese players. The last time Blizzard changed licensing partners, from The9 to NetEase in 2009, Chinese players were stuck in The Burning Crusade for nearly year after the rest of the world had moved onto Wrath of the Lich King.
On the progress of finding new partners:
We have started talks with a number of potential partners who share our player-first values. We continue to prioritize potential partners that can provide high quality and consistent game play, create a positive gaming environment both inside and outside of the game, and work with us to bring our games back to our players in China. We will share new developments with you in the future. Unfortunately, NetEase is unwilling to extend the service for six months based on the terms of the existing partnership while we look for a new partner. However, we will not give up and will still do our best for everyone. We want you to understand that it's not over yet. We will still try to find a national partner who shares our beliefs.
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