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Activision Blizzard claims NetEase rejected proposal to extend China partnership

UPDATE: NetEase says that Activision Blizzard's extension proposal is rude, unreasonable, and commercially illogical

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Original Story, Tuesday, January 17:

Activision Blizzard has said it asked NetEase to delay the end of the long-running partnership between the two companies – whereby the handled publishing and operations for key Blizzard titles in China – but NetEase declined.

Reuters reported Blizzard China posted a statement on Chinese social media platform Weibo, in which it said it contacted NetEase last with with a proposal for an extension.

Blizzard claimed it requested an extra six months of support following the two firms' decision to end their 14-year publishing partnership in November. But Blizzard said NetEase rejected this proposal.

As such, the partnership will still come to an end on January 23 as planned, which will take seven Blizzard titles offline in China, including World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and Hearthstone.

The news follows reports that NetEase has already begun disbanding the team responsible for handling these titles in China.

When the two companies initially announced the split, NetEase CEO William Ding said his company had "put in a great deal of effort and tried with our utmost sincerity to negotiate with Activision Blizzard" but the pair could not reach an agreement due to "material differences."

Blizzard, meanwhile, said the two companies could not agree on a deal that was "consistent with Blizzard's operating principles and commitments to players and employees."

Activision Blizzard is now seeking an alternative partner in China, although it is believed to be unlikely one will be lined up in time for the NetEase deal's expiration next week.

Update Wednesday, January 18:

NetEase has responded to Activision Blizzard's proposal to extend the partnership to seek a new business partner in China.

As reported by PCGamesN, the firm expressed that the extension was partly inappropriate.

NetEase described the proposal as "rude and unreasonable, inappropriate and commercially illogical."

The firm adds that Activision Blizzard is making "endless, exorbitant demands, taking free rides, and taking all advantages without responsibilities."

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James Batchelor avatar

James Batchelor

Editor-in-Chief

James Batchelor is Editor-in-Chief at GamesIndustry.biz. He is based in Essex and has been a B2B games journalist since 2006