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NetEase Declines Activision Blizzard’s Offer to Expand Publishing Partnership in China

NetEase Declines Activision Blizzard’s Offer to Expand Publishing Partnership in China

NetEase Declines Activision Blizzard's Offer to Expand Publishing Partnership in China

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Chinese game publisher NetEase said on Wednesday it had rejected a proposal from Activision Blizzard to extend their longstanding partnership for another six months, as the US game developer seeks a new partner. NetEase said the proposal was “commercially illogical” and accused the US company of “seeking a divorce but remaining committed”, in a rare public display of acrimony between the two gaming giants. Blizzard announced in November that he would end his 14-year partnership with NetEase, sending shockwaves through the industry, as the partnership was widely considered one of the most lucrative in video games.

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The companies had been unable to agree on key terms of cooperation, and hits such as World of Warcraft will not be available in China, the world’s biggest games market, from January 23. .

NetEase said Blizzard last week offered to extend the partnership for six months, but also made it clear that it would not stop negotiating with other potential partners.

“Given the non-reciprocity, injustice and other strict conditions attached to cooperation, the parties ultimately could not reach an agreement,” China’s second-largest game company said in a statement. a statement.

The exact sticking points that marred the deal, which started in 2008 and was renewed in 2019, remain unclear.

A person close to Blizzard said the dispute that derailed the renewal was over business terms rather than data issues, as some outlets had reported.

The person, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue, said NetEase had offered to make structural changes to the partnership that would affect Blizzard’s control over its intellectual property (IP).

In its statement Tuesday night, NetEase said it had never sought control of the intellectual property from Blizzard or any other partner as a publishing company in the past 14 years.

“All use and licensing of Blizzard’s intellectual property has been made pursuant to the terms of the contract and with Blizzard’s consent and approval,” he said.

Activision Blizzard did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

With their partnership gone, Blizzard is currently without a Chinese publisher. Unlike other countries, foreign game companies usually need a Chinese publisher before they can release games in China.

NetEase has become a gaming giant in part by publishing Blizzard’s games in China. It has since ramped up its own game development capacity, with in-house games now accounting for over 60% of its revenue.

© Thomson Reuters 2023


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