According to reports, China-based publisher NetEase is dissolving the team responsible for processing blizzard title in its home market following the collapse of the two companies’ long-standing partnership.
Sources familiar with the matter told the South China Morning Post that “most employees” in the department have either been laid off or transferred to other parts of the company.
Chinese operations for blizzard Games were managed by a unit of NetEase subsidiary Shanghai EaseNet Network Technology. A team of about ten people has been retained to handle the logistics surrounding the suspension of the affected titles, as well as customer service issues in the aftermath, but these will reportedly only last for up to six months.
At its peak there were fewer than 100 people on this team, and many are said to have left after that blizzard and NetEase first announced their split in November. Some technical staff have already been transferred to other teams in Shanghai.
blizzard and NetEase announced their 14-year partnership, during which the latter will publish and operate Key blizzard Title, expires January 23, 2023, with no word of renewal.
Actually, blizzard has already said it is in talks with various alternative partners in China, but the South China Morning Post sources say an agreement is unlikely by Jan. 23.
That day seven blizzard Titles going offline in Mainland China: World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Hearthstone, Diablo 3, Warcraft 3, StarCraft 2, and Heroes of the Storm. blizzard has already withdrawn these titles from sale in China.
The mobile game Diablo Immortal is not affected as this is part of a separate agreement and co-developed by NetEase blizzard. The NetEase team behind it is based in the company’s headquarters in Hangzhou and is not affected by the job cuts.
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