Blizzard, the renowned creator of Diablo 4, World of Warcraft, and Overwatch, finds itself entangled in a legal dispute with its former Chinese publishing partner, NetEase. The latter, reportedly seeking justice, intends to file a lawsuit against Blizzard, seeking a staggering $44 million (£35 million) for purported breaches of licensing agreements. Surprisingly, Blizzard, the mastermind behind the beloved Diablo 4 and WoW, asserts that it has not yet received any legal action from NetEase. Rather, it expresses bewilderment and disillusionment towards the publisher’s recent perplexing and disheartening “campaign.”
In the past, NetEase had the important role of distributing a variety of Blizzard games in China. However, this partnership reached its conclusion in January when NetEase rejected the terms of a new agreement with Blizzard, deeming them “rude and unreasonable.” Surprisingly, on January 19, videos surfaced showing NetEase employees actively demolishing a Blizzard statue located outside the company’s headquarters.
On April 24, Chinese media outlet Sina broke the news about a fascinating legal battle between NetEase and Blizzard. It was reported that NetEase had taken the bold step of filing a whopping $44 million lawsuit against Blizzard. Their claim? Allegedly, the renowned developer had reneged on their promise to compensate players with refunds following the termination of game services in China. Instead, NetEase found themselves burdened with the responsibility of covering these refunds.
Allegedly, there are rumors of a lawsuit stating that NetEase not only paid deposits to secure licensing deals for Blizzard’s games, but also that these deposits have not been refunded. Furthermore, the supposed lawsuit suggests that NetEase is now seeking compensation for unsold merchandise associated with Blizzard.
According to PCGamesN, Blizzard has stated that a lawsuit from NetEase has not yet been received.
A spokesperson from the company assures, “Although we haven’t received the lawsuit, we hold firm in our belief that we have not violated any licensing agreements.” The concerns raised by NetEase seem to pertain to commonplace industry practices that have brought mutual benefits for many years.”
Although we find this relentless effort from a former associate disheartening and perplexing, it’s crucial to acknowledge that we have relished almost twenty years of favorable encounters conducting business in China. Our dedication lies in catering to players and safeguarding their interests.
PCGamesN has reached out to NetEase and will provide updates on this story as more information becomes available.
Blizzard’s announcement coincides with the anticipation of a monumental revamp for World of Warcraft’s classic mode, unveiling the much-awaited system requirements for Diablo 4.
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