Microsoft Brings Diablo IV and Other Videogames Back to China


In a significant development, Blizzard Entertainment has reached an agreement with China’s NetEase to reintroduce its popular videogame titles to the mainland Chinese market. This move comes after a year-long feud that had disrupted the availability of Blizzard games in China. As part of the renewed partnership, famed franchises like Diablo, Hearthstone, Overwatch, and StarCraft will once again be accessible to players in China.


A Rocky History

The relationship between NetEase and Blizzard hit a rough patch in January of last year when the two companies failed to agree on an extension. The fallout led to a 15% plunge in NetEase shares on the Hong Kong stock exchange. Blizzard suspended most online game services and sales in mainland China, cutting off a lucrative collaboration for both parties. Notably, the highly anticipated release of Diablo IV in June 2023 was not officially available in China due to the dispute.

Salvaging the Partnership

Now, with the new agreement, Blizzard games are set to return to the Chinese market sequentially, starting this summer. The companies are working to restart services, solve technical issues, and ensure a smooth transition for players. Account progress will be preserved when the servers are back online.

Microsoft’s Role

Microsoft, which acquired Activision Blizzard in a record-breaking $69 billion deal in October, played a pivotal role in salvaging this partnership. The combined entity now ranks third among global games publishers, behind Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Sony Group Corp. The renewed commitment to players in China demonstrates Microsoft’s dedication to expanding gaming opportunities worldwide.

A New Beginning

As the giant statue of World of Warcraft’s legendary Gorehowl axe is rebuilt at NetEase’s Hangzhou campus, fans can look forward to a fresh start. Both companies have promised to work closely together, ensuring that Blizzard’s iconic games find their way back into the hands of millions of community members in China.

Written by
Jennifer Dixon

Jennifer Dixon is a passionate and professional news writer with over 15 years of experience in the media industry. She has worked as a reporter, editor, and correspondent for various news agencies such as Reuters, CNN, and BBC. She has covered a wide range of topics, from politics and business to culture and entertainment. She has a keen eye for detail and a flair for storytelling. She is also an avid reader and learner, always curious about the world and its people. Jennifer holds a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a bachelor's degree in English from Yale University. She is currently working as a freelance writer and consultant, helping clients with their news and content needs. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, yoga, and photography.

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