Blizzard reportedly partnering with Chinese publisher NetEase again after Microsoft acquisition

Jeremy Gan
Blizzard reportedly partnering with Chinese publisher NetEase again after Microsoft acquisition

Blizzard is reportedly renewing their partnership with Chinese game publisher NetEase once again to bring back local servers after their acquisition by Microsoft.

In November 2022, Blizzard announced that most of their game services would be suspended in China as their licensing agreements with NetEase were expiring with no new deal in place. And on January 23, 2023, Chinese gamers bid goodbye to Blizzard.

However, just a year after talks broke down between Blizzard and NetEase, the gaming giant is reportedly in talks with NetEase to bring their titles and servers back to China.

Blizzard Entertainment promo art of game characters
Blizzard’s reported return will see their many titles come back to China

As reported by Chinese news site 36Kr, Blizzard had been in talks with multiple domestic game publishers in China about a return and chose to partner with NetEase once again.

The rekindling of their partnership will see Blizzard re-establish servers for their titles like Overwatch, World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Starcraft, which 36Kr says may take another six months to do so.

Talks between the two parties broke down as NetEase criticized Blizzard’s extension offer as unequal and unfair, rejecting the proposal.

2023 has been a long and complicated year for Blizzard. They started the year with the closure of their Chinese operations as they ended their 15-year partnership with NetEase.

Amidst the closure, Blizzard was also dealing with Activision Blizzard’s acquisition by Microsoft which saw the $68.7 billion deal go through complications with the Federal Trade Commission, and saw its conclusion on October 13.

And towards the end of 2023, Activision Blizzard’s long-time controversial CEO Bobby Kotick announced his departure by December 29 after their acquisition by Microsoft, much to the celebrations of fans.

The end of 2023 also saw Blizzard shut down its major esports league, Overwatch League, of which NetEase owned a franchise slot and operated the OWL team Shanghai Dragons.

About The Author

Jeremy is a writer on the Australian Dexerto team. He studied at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, and graduated with a Bachelors in Journalism. Jeremy mainly covers esports such as CS:GO, Valorant, Overwatch, League of Legends, and Dota 2, but he also leans into gaming and entertainment news as well. You can contact Jeremy at or on Twitter @Jer_Gan