World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Overwatch 2 suspended in China | The Sun

BLIZZARD will suspend services of its ongoing live service games in China after a dispute with the distributor.

A number of popular games and series will halt in China, including World of Warcraft, Diablo Immortal, and Overwatch 2.

China is one of the world’s leading gaming markets due to its high population.

Despite this, in a statement released by Blizzard today (November 17), services will be suspended in China at the end of January 2023.

The statement reads: “The two parties have not reached a deal to renew the agreements that is consistent with Blizzard’s operating principles and commitments to players and employees.

“The agreements are set to expire in January 2023.”

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New sales of Blizzard games will be suspended in the region in the coming day, though the details have not been finalised.

However, planned releases such as World of Warcraft: Dragonflight, Hearthstone: Wrath of the Lich King, and Overwatch 2 Season 2 will go ahead before the end of the year.

President of Blizzard Mike Ybarra thanked the company’s Chinese customers, who have enjoyed its games to date.

He also stated that he hopes to reach an agreement with another company to continue services in China in the future.

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He says: “We are immensely grateful for the passion the Chinese community has shown throughout the nearly 20 years we’ve been bringing out games to China through NetEase and other partners.

“Their enthusiasm and creativity inspire us.

“We are looking for alternatives to bring our games back to players in the future.”

Despite Blizzard’s search for alternative distributors, it is likely that there will be at least a short period where the games are unavailable in China.

China is known for some of the strictest online laws in the world, and also for restricting content in the region.

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Many services including Google products have been suspended there, and films and games have to be heavily edited to meet government standards.

In 2021, president Xi Jinping banned all games that depicted homosexual or nazi characters.

Written by Georgina Young on behalf of GLHF.

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