NetEase, Inc. (NASDAQ: NTES and HKEX: 9999, “NetEase” or the “Company”), one of China’s leading internet and online game services providers, today announced that it anticipates that its licenses covering the publication of several titles of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. in China will expire in accordance with their terms on January 23, 2023 and will not be renewed. The affected games are World of Warcraft®, the StarCraft® series, Hearthstone®, Heroes of the Storm®, Overwatch® and Diablo III®.

“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. However, there were material differences on key terms and we could not reach an agreement. We hold high regard in our product and operational standards and abide by our commitments to Chinese players.

We are honored to have had the privilege of serving our gamers over the past 14 years and have shared many precious moments with them during that time. 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,” said William Ding, CEO of NetEase.

The net revenues and net income contribution from these licensed Blizzard games represented low single digits as a percentage of NetEase’s total net revenues and net income in 2021 and in the first nine months of 2022. The expiration of such licenses will have no material impact on NetEase’s financial results. The co-development and publishing of Diablo® Immortal™ is covered by a separate long-term agreement and will continue.

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Jerry Paxton

A long-time fan and reveler of all things Geek, I am also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of GamingShogun.com