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World of Warcraft Returns: China Rejoices

World of Warcraft return to China this summer has been confirmed by gaming powerhouse NetEase
April 10, 2024

In a significant turn of events, Chinese gaming behemoth NetEase has announced the impending return of beloved titles such as World of Warcraft to the Chinese gaming market this summer. This news comes after a tumultuous period marked by the dissolution of NetEase's long standing partnership with game developer Activision Blizzard.

Last year, the gaming world was rocked when NetEase and Activision Blizzard parted ways after a 14-year collaboration, citing irreconcilable differences over intellectual property control. The breakup left millions of Chinese gamers in dismay, fearing the loss of access to their favorite virtual worlds.

The rift between the two companies escalated into a highly publicized feud, culminating in legal battles. However, tensions began to ease following Microsoft's groundbreaking acquisition of Activision Blizzard for a staggering $69 billion in October, marking a watershed moment in the gaming industry.

Expressing gratitude for the unwavering support of the Chinese gaming community, Johanna Faries, president of Blizzard Entertainment, affirmed the company's commitment to reintroducing its iconic franchises with unparalleled quality and dedication.

Among the titles slated to make a triumphant comeback in China are not only World of Warcraft but also Hearthstone, Warcraft, Overwatch, Diablo, and StarCraft franchises, promising an exciting revival for gamers across the nation.

China, renowned as the world's largest online gaming market, continues to witness exponential growth, with domestic revenue reaching a staggering 303 billion yuan ($42 billion) at the close of last year. NetEase stands as the country's second-largest video game company by revenue, trailing only behind industry giant Tencent.

In a strategic move, Microsoft and NetEase have forged a partnership aimed at exploring opportunities to bring new NetEase titles to Microsoft's gaming ecosystem, including Xbox consoles and other platforms. Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming, reiterated the companies' shared commitment to expanding gaming accessibility worldwide.

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