World of Warcraft will soon go offline in China

Iconic game ‘World of Warcraft’ will no longer be available in China from next year, after the breakdown of a long-term business partnership.

Californian company Blizzard Entertainment (NASDAQ: ATVI) says it was unable to reach a deal with China’s NetEase (HKG: 9999) that was consistent with its “operating principles and commitments to players and employees”.

The existing agreements are due to expire in January 2023.

Along with World of Warcraft, the affected games include ‘Heroes of the Storm’, ‘ Hearthstone’, ‘ Warcraft III: Reforged’, ‘Overwatch’, the ‘StarCraft’ series, ‘Diablo III’.

According to Reuters, Blizzard’s announcement was the top trending topic on China’s Weibo platform, with more than 100 million views.

“I’m so sad. I started playing Blizzard games from 2008… how do I say good bye?” said one user.

Blizzard says it will suspend new sales in the coming days and Chinese players will be receiving details of how this will work soon.

“We’re immensely grateful for the passion our Chinese community has shown throughout the nearly 20 years we’ve been bringing our games to China through NetEase and other partners,” said Blizzard President Mike Ybarra.

“Their enthusiasm and creativity inspire us, and we are looking for alternatives to bring our games back to players in the future.”