Blizzard claims NetEase rejected deal to keep World of Warcraft and other servers alive in China

World of Warcraft's Panda race
(Image credit: Blizzard)

World of Warcraft developer Blizzard has blamed NetEase for its game servers being turned off in China.

As reported by Reuters (opens in new tab) earlier today on January 17, Blizzard China published on microblogging site Weibo to let followers know that NetEase had apparently rejected a proposal to keep Blizzard game servers alive in China. The deal would've kept servers alive for six months, giving Blizzard time to find a new publishing partner in China.

"It is a pity that NetEase is not willing to extend services of our game for another six months on the basis of existing terms as we look for a new partner," Blizzard China's statement on Weibo read. NetEase, on the other hand, declined to comment on the story to Reuters, and as things currently stand, all Blizzard-developed games will go offline in China on January 23.

The news of Blizzard and NetEase first parting ways broke back in November 2022. Blizzard announced that because an agreement between the two long-standing partners couldn't be reached, game servers for Blizzard-developed titles, including the likes of World of Warcraft, would be turned off on January 23, effectively ending service for millions of Chinese players.

Last month, Blizzard revealed it was still searching for a "suitable solution" to keep World of Warcraft and other game servers active in China. With the news today of the apparent rejection from NetEase, that's at least one potential partner that's fallen through for Blizzard in the region. It remains to be seen whether Blizzard can acquire a new partner in China before the January 23 termination date.

You can head over to our new games 2023 guide for a complete look over all the Blizzard-developed games set to launch throughout the year. 

Hirun Cryer is a freelance reporter and writer with Gamesradar+ based out of U.K. After earning a degree in American History specializing in journalism, cinema, literature, and history, he stepped into the games writing world, with a focus on shooters, indie games, and RPGs, and has since been the recipient of the MCV 30 Under 30 award for 2021. In his spare time he freelances with other outlets around the industry, practices Japanese, and enjoys contemporary manga and anime.