NetEase team behind the Chinese versions of Blizzard’s titles has been dissolved

by Danny Craig  · 
NetEase team behind the Chinese versions of Blizzard’s titles has been dissolved
Blizzard Entertainment

The publishing deal between Blizzard Entertainment and NetEase collapsed, which will cause multiple Blizzard titles to be unplayable in Mainland China.

The details:

  • A report by the South China Morning Post claims that the team responsible for operating Blizzard’s titles in China has dissolved, with "most staff" being either laid off or transferred to other teams.
  • The team consisted of fewer than 100 people, with the majority of the team leaving back in November 2022 when it was announced that the licensing agreement between the companies would come to an end after 14 years. Game development was still handled by Blizzard back in the United States, with most of NetEase’s team being operational staff.
  • Around ten skeleton crew members remain to handle technical support and other customer service related to Blizzard's departure from the region. This small group is reportedly unlikely to be around for more than six months before they’re let go or move to other positions.
  • World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Diablo III, StarCraft II, Warcraft III: Reforged, and Heroes of the Storm will all have their services suspended. Diablo Immortal, Blizzard and NetEase's 2022 mobile offering, will continue to operate normally since their partnership is separate from the other Blizzard titles. Because the agreement fell through, Warcraft III and Starcraft II will be unavailable on the Chinese mainland for the first time since 2008.

What else is happening with Activision-Blizzard?

  • With new pay transparency laws taking effect in California and Washington on January 1, 2023, it was revealed that Blizzard's QA staff earn significantly less than QA workers at other studios. When compared with mid-level QA tester positions at Bungie and Riot, it's clear that Blizzard is offering considerably less to candidates, with the top-end of a test lead role not even breaking the low-end of Riot's QA engineer salary range.
  • Recently, Treyarch ramped up hiring for its iconic zombies mode, which will feature in 2024’s Call of Duty title. Currently, the positions on offer are for designers and engineers at a senior level, indicating that the development is likely in full swing with further recruitment coming throughout 2023.

Looking to work on some of the biggest titles in the gaming industry, such as World of Warcraft and Overwatch? Check out all of the available listings at Blizzard Entertainment here.