Gaming Giant Blizzard Returns to China, Sparking Joy — and Some Anger

U.S.-based video game maker Blizzard Entertainment has announced a new deal to re-enter the Chinese market. But some gamers still haven’t forgiven the company for leaving in the first place.

The U.S.-based video game giant Blizzard Entertainment has announced that it will return to China after a one-year absence, sparking an outpouring of joy — and some grumbling — among Chinese gamers.

Blizzard Entertainment — the developer of massively popular video game series “World of Warcraft,” “Diablo,” and “Overwatch” — withdrew from China in January 2023 over a contract dispute with its Chinese partner, the tech giant NetEase.

But the U.S. studio — whose parent company Activision Blizzard was acquired by Microsoft for $68.7 billion last year — announced via a post on Chinese microblogging platform Weibo on Wednesday that it has “reached a new cooperation agreement with NetEase.”

The company added that its Chinese servers will begin operating again this summer, covering series including “World of Warcraft,” “Hearthstone,” “Overwatch,” “Diablo,” and “Starcraft.” In addition, NetEase Games and Microsoft have agreed to a deal to make new NetEase Games titles available on Xbox and other Microsoft platforms, according to the announcement.

The return of Blizzard has generated a huge reaction in China, with a related hashtag becoming the top trending topic on Weibo, garnering over 300 million views as of Wednesday afternoon.

Many gamers expressed delight at the company’s decision and the prospect of regaining access to its major titles. Before Blizzard exited China last year, “World of Warcraft” alone was estimated to have at least 3 million users in the country.

However, Blizzard may not find it easy to win back all of its fans. Many Chinese gamers remain frustrated by the company’s decision to leave in the first place, while others lost access to their Chinese accounts on which they had racked up thousands of hours of gameplay.

“Do you think it’s that easy to get me to play your games again?” read the highest upvoted comment under Blizzard’s announcement on Weibo. Continue to read the full article here
This article originally appeared on Sixth Tone