Goodbye to Millions of Players: World Of Warcraft Going Offline in China

Goodbye to Millions of Players: World Of Warcraft Going Offline in China

Today is the end of an era for Warcraft fans in China. After a 14-year partnership between developer Blizzard and publisher NetEase, a record-breaking $69 billion takeover deal by Microsoft will bring the two to an inevitable parting of ways.

The game, first released in North America in 2004, was given permission to launch in the Chinese gaming market in 2005, with servers managed by NetEase since 2008. 

This means an emotional goodbye to Warcraft, which has an estimated three million players in China, and popular titles like Overwatch, Hearthstone, and Starcraft. It's a significant loss for gamers in the region and a testament to the strength of Blizzard's titles.

Simon Zhu, President of Global Investment at NetEase, recently made a damning statement about the companies' break-up, claiming he had devoted "10,000 hours" playing Blizzard's games.

In a post on LinkedIn, he wrote, "One day, when what has happened behind the scene could be told, developers and gamers will have a whole new level of understanding of how much damage a jerk can make."

After rejecting Blizzard's proposal to extend their agreement by six months, NetEase accused the company of wanting a divorce but still wanting to remain attached. A source close to Blizzard told Reuters news agency that the dispute was about NetEase wanting structural changes that would affect their control over their intellectual property. 

NetEase insists that "any usage and licensing of Blizzard's IP were done in accordance with contract terms and with Blizzard's consent and approval" throughout the 14-year agreement.

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