After months of failed negotiations with publisher NetEase, Blizzard has officially shut down all Overwatch 2 servers in China and players are torn on what the future holds for the region.
At approximately midnight in Beijing, millions of Overwatch users all across China lost access to the game as Blizzard pulls the plug on all Chinese servers. After months of failed renegotiations with local publisher, NetEase, all of Blizzard’s online multiplayer games have now been taken down in China as their licensing agreement ends. This includes other Blizzard titles such as World of Warcraft, Diablo, Hearthstone, and Starcraft.
“Goodbye and see you again” wrote the Twitter account of the Chengdu Hunters, a team in the Overwatch League. “Overwatch 2 has been shut down in mainland China,” they wrote bluntly.
“So about those like 4 Chinese teams…” wrote a Redditor in a thread discussing the shutdown.
There are currently four Chinese teams in the Overwatch League, and many players have expressed concern about how teams like Chengdu Hunters or Guangzhou Charge – with majority Chinese players – will operate. Or even how Shanghai Dragons, a team run by NetEase, will operate as a Chinese org with South Korean players.
Others in the same thread also questioned what happens to the skins Chinese players bought. Few have speculated Blizzard will refund players, but the company has not announced anything of the sort. In fact, Blizzard has not made any statement regarding the shutdowns and what will happen to the Chinese user’s accounts and purchases.
The shutdown comes as problems keep raining down on Blizzard. From OWL teams suing the company, the company’s ongoing acquisition battles with Microsoft, and fans upset at the general lack of content and fixes to the game’s ranked system.
“Overwatch 2 is so bad in China they decided to ban it and create Overwatch 1 again” joked a Redditor. Not too surprising as many of Overwatch’s legacy players from the first game were not positive of the game’s similarity.
“If a Chinese company creates a bootleg version to fill the gap, I hope it plays more like Overwatch 1,” another Redditor said. “So Paladins.” another replied, referencing Overwatch’s main competitor in the hero shooter scene.
Others have pointed out that the shutdown has come right after China finished celebrating The Lunar New Year. Also coming off the back of a lackluster Chinese New Year event. As Overwatch Youtuber Bro You Wack Bluntly tweeted out, “Overwatch officially shut down in China. Happy Lunar New Year btw.”