As we announced a couple of months ago, Activision Blizzard decided not to renew its partnership agreement with the Chinese publishing company NetEase. As a result, as of January 23, 2023, Blizzard closed all of its video games in China.
Recall that NetEase did not want to sign a six-month extension of the original agreement. So, gamers were advised to prepare for the worst, as Blizzard was looking for a replacement company to publish its games in this country.
— Reuters World (@ReutersWorld) January 18, 2023
However, this has not happened yet, the deadline was yesterday, and everything we had said has been fulfilled. So right now, Activision Blizzard titles are not playable in China unless players want to risk using a VPN.
Chinese teams start to say goodbye to the scene
As we mentioned, some teams have been left in limbo, knowing they will no longer be able to access the game from their country. One of them is the Chengdu Hunters, which have announced through their official Twitter account that this is the end of the organization in this esports.
When the game officially went offline yesterday, January 23, Chengdu Hunters said to fans, “Goodbye and see you again.”
Goodbye and see you again. pic.twitter.com/rNzukKbYBU
— Chengdu Hunters (@ChengduHunters) January 23, 2023
As written and what such messages usually mean, it doesn’t seem to be a final goodbye. But this raises many questions about Chinese OW2 players. It is unclear whether the organizations will practice privately until Blizzard gets another partner or seek new career horizons.
For now, the Chengdu Hunters are the only OWL team to speak out regarding the fact that Overwatch 2 is no longer available in China. But it is clear that they are not the only team this news affects.
The Hangzhou Spark, Guangzhou Charge, Shanghai Dragons, and Los Angeles Valiant operate in China. So, we must wait for the decision they make regarding their players. But, some organizations will likely move to another country to compete in the Overwatch League 2023.
The tweet can be a “see you later”
While the statement may seem like a final decision, the organization is likely hoping this situation is temporary. For example, one of the tweets the organization has “Liked” reads as follows:
“Guys, I’m pretty sure this is about Overwatch no longer being playable in China, not Chengdu dropping out of the league.”
Guys I’m pretty sure this is about overwatch not being available to be played in China anymore, not Chengdu leaving the league
— Prediction God (@PredictionGod1) January 23, 2023
Recall that Chinese law requires games released in their country to be from a company based in the country. Blizzard must find a China-based company to publish its video games.
Until a few months ago, that company was NetEase, a company Blizzard had agreements with for many years, but it all fell apart unexpectedly. Now, after failing to get another available publisher, the video games went offline yesterday from the Chinese servers. NetEase even removed its WoW statue to celebrate this news.
Netease is dismantling the axe statue of WOW in Netease Hangzhou.
And it is on live through the official channel of NAKARA BLADEPOINT, which is product of Netease. pic.twitter.com/I8f6p0yyFw
— Alan阿兰 (@AlanGai_) January 18, 2023
Header: Chengdu Hunters | Overwatch League