Activision Blizzard and NetEase’s joint creation, World of Warcraft mobile has been canceled after three years of covert development due to conflicts over financial arrangements.
NetEase was supposedly co-developing a World of Warcraft mobile game with Blizzard for three years, but the project is now reportedly canceled because of financial issues. According to reports by Bloomberg, a team of more than 100 developers working on a mobile game set in the Warcraft universe was recently disbanded by NetEase. The project, code-named Neptune, wasn’t a direct World of Warcraft adaptation; instead, it was a spinoff set in the same universe but at a different time period.
Blizzard teamed up with NetEase in 2008 to publish some of its most popular titles in China, including World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Overwatch, StarCraft II, and Diablo III. NetEase also collaborated with Blizzard on the controversial Diablo Immortal title. Despite getting harsh criticism for its microtransactions from the gaming community, NetEase and Blizzard’s first joint venture got off to a great start, earning $49 million in its first month.
Although abandoned projects undoubtedly result in significant losses for the studios, developers could leverage the resources from failed projects to create new ones. The assets from Project Titan, a covert MMORPG that Blizzard abruptly abandoned in 2013, were repurposed to develop the popular title Overwatch.
Activision Blizzard’s numbers are declining
The stock price, sales, and player base of Activision Blizzard have plummeted over the past few years for many reasons The publisher blamed the decline in sales on Blizzard’s release schedule delays and Call of Duty’s failure to live up to its standards. Activision Blizzard’s most recent quarterly financial report shows that over the past year, monthly users of the company’s titles have significantly decreased, particularly for Call of Duty games.
— World of Warcraft (@Warcraft) April 19, 2022
According to a GameSpot article, they lost almost 63 million monthly active users from the same period last year. Additionally, the company’s console revenue plummeted by 31% from $840 million last year to $576 million this year and its PC revenue also declined by 12%, from $561 million to $496 million.
Though World of Warcraft development has been halted, there are still plenty of titles coming out relatively soon from Blizzard, including Overwatch 2, Wrath of the Lich King Classic, and Dragonflight. As Blizzard releases a new expansion every two years and the most recent expansion, Shadowlands was released in 2020, it is also anticipated that Blizzard will release Dragonflight before the end of this year. However, the organization hasn’t announced a release date for the upcoming expansion.
Proletariat joins forces with @blizzard_ent! As a studio that is passionate about creating fantastical multiplayer experiences, we can’t wait to join the talented devs on @warcraft to help shape the future of Azeroth together! https://t.co/7Ps35xHGh2
— Proletariat Inc. (@proletariat_inc) July 1, 2022
Additionally, the company recently acquired Proletariat, the developer behind the free-to-play first-person shooter battle royale Spellbreak. According to VentureBeat, the studio currently employs 100 people, and these individuals will join Blizzard and work on the upcoming Dragonflight expansion for World of Warcraft.