China’s NetEase criticizes Blizzard’s offer as unequal, unfair

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HONG KONG (AP) – Chinese gaming company NetEase Inc. rejected a proposal by the creator of World of Warcraft Activision Blizzard to temporarily extend its partnership while the American company looks for a new partner, calling the terms proposed to a growing public as “unequal and unfair” labeled spat.

Blizzard said in November that its 14-year partnership with NetEase would end, meaning the imminent retirement on January 23 of games such as World of Warcraft, the Starcraft series and Overwatch from largest gaming market in the world.

In a statement, NetEase said Wednesday that Blizzard proposed to extend the partnership by six months on the existing terms while it continues to look for a new partner in China.

“We believe that Blizzard’s proposal is … rude, inappropriate and not in line with business logic,” NetEase said.

The Chinese company criticized Blizzard for its “overconfidence” in claims that allegedly showed a lack of consideration for NetEase and gamers.

NetEase’s statement came a day after Blizzard said the Chinese firm refused to accept an extension offer that would have avoided service disruptions in the Chinese market while the US firm continued negotiations with potential partners.

Blizzard has yet to find a new Chinese publisher for its games, as is required to release its titles in China. It said it will release a service that will allow users to save and download their World of Warcraft progress so they can pick up where they left off when the game comes back online.

Partly due to NetEase’s long-term partnership with Blizzard, the Chinese company has grown to become China’s second largest game distributor, behind local rival Tencent.

NetEase stock fell after it announced in November that the partnership was ending. They rebounded after the company said Blizzard games represented only a low single-digit percentage of total sales and revenue.

NetEase CEO William Ding said at the time that there were “material differences in key terms” that the two companies could not agree on.

The Associated Press


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