Overwatch 2 Is Officially Dead In China
Update: January 23 - Overwatch 2 is officially dead in China. The Chengdu Hunters Twitter account has posted a goodbye message - reiterating that the game has gone dark today (January 23).
The account saying "see you again" suggests this isn't the end of the road, but for now, the team is waving goodbye to Overwatch 2.
Overwatch 2 has had a pretty strong start in spite of its controversies, and even though fans hate the new shop system, it definitely seems to be working.
Players haven't been deterred enough by the fact that they now have to pay outright for the skins they want, and though it's a major annoyance, the fanbase and Twitch audience for the game are still pretty massive.
A lot of the game's audience comes in from China, as does the main demographic for a lot of Blizzard games. Or at least, it did - because Blizzard in China is about to go dark.
Blizzard Games Are Being Pulled From China
Due to the service provider of many Blizzard games in China, NetEase, deciding to cancel its licenses with Blizzard, a huge slew of games under the company's banner will soon be axed from receiving services in China.
According to Kotaku, Overwatch 2, Diablo III, World of Warcraft, StarCraft, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm are victims of the axing, and their services will be axed in mainline China on January 23 2023.
The games won't be renewed in the country, which is a huge move for NetEase to make, likely causing Blizzard to suffer massive profit losses across the board.
This is big news, as the likes of World of Warcraft and Hearthstone remain incredibly popular across the globe - and interestingly, it looks like a personal squabble that brought the deal to a close.
Why Are Blizzard Games Halting In China?
"We have put in a great deal of effort and tried with our utmost sincerity to negotiate with Activision Blizzard so that we could continue our collaboration and serve the many dedicated players in China," says CEO William Ding.
"However, there were material differences on key terms and we could not reach an agreement," he continued. "We will continue our promise to serve our players well until the last minute. We will make sure our players' data and assets are well protected in all of our games."
But, there's another story coming from the president of global investment and partnership at NetEase, Simon Zhu. Posting on LinkedIn he poured one out:
"As a gamer who spent ten thousand hours in the world of Azeroth, StarCraft and Overwatch, I feel so heartbroken as I will not longer have the access to my account and memories next year.
"One day, when what has happened behind the scene could be told, developers and gamers will have a whole new level understanding of how much damage a jerk can make." Ooh.
It's a very dramatic turn of events, and it seems like a personal problem has made a massive impact on the gaming industry. This is secretly very funny.