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After a long absence, the video game “World of Warcraft” will return to China this summer

“World of Warcraft” and other successful video games will return to China starting this summer, American developer Blizzard and its local partner NetEase announced on Wednesday, more than a year after their withdrawal from the Chinese market in due to a contract dispute.

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After a long absence, the video game “World of Warcraft” will return to China this summer

World of Warcraft” and other successful video games will return to China starting this summer, American developer Blizzard and its local partner NetEase announced on Wednesday, more than a year after their withdrawal from the Chinese market in due to a contract dispute. “Blizzard Entertainment's beloved video games that have captivated millions of players in China will return to the market successively, starting this summer, under a renewed publishing contract,” the companies announced in a press release. “Hearthstone” and other titles from the “World of Warcraft” (often abbreviated to “WoW”) or “Overwatch” franchises will also make a return to the country, they added.

Chinese Internet users rejoiced on Wednesday at the return of games from Californian developer Blizzard to the market. On the social network Weibo, “Blizzard announces its return” or even “NetEase and Blizzard are remarrying” appear at the top of the search trends on Wednesday morning. “Today, our old friend (...) makes his return, our favorite game returns,” wrote video game specialist “Scarlet Bunny” in a post on Weibo. “Come back to life, my beloved!” another fan wrote. WoW's Chinese servers were deactivated in January 2023, sparking a wave of anger and sadness among fans of the title.

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Immensely popular around the world, especially in the 2000s, “World of Warcraft” is a multiplayer online role-playing game set in a medieval-fantasy universe. Blizzard began bringing its games to China in 2008 through a collaboration with Chinese internet giant NetEase, with foreign developers required to partner with a local partner to enter the market. But the two companies announced in November 2022, after 14 years of working together, that discussions to renew the operating contracts had not been successful.

“After continuing discussions over the past year, Blizzard Entertainment and NetEase are pleased to align on a path forward to once again support players in mainland China and are proud to reaffirm their commitment to delivering exceptional gaming experiences “, the companies said in their press release. Several longtime “Wow” players, however, expressed their resentment after the role-playing game’s prolonged absence from China. “Players are not toys (...) of Blizzard that we take or abandon as we please,” wrote a user on Weibo, calling for a boycott.

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