Blizzard games go dark in China, with no return in sight: ‘This is so tragic,’ says former Hearthstone director

January 23 has now come and gone in China, and that means Blizzard games including World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Diablo 3, and Overwatch have been shut down in the country, with no return currently in sight.

The shutdown isn’t a surprise: It was first announced in November 2022 (opens in new tab), when Blizzard and Chinese publisher NetEase were unable to reach a renewal agreement on their partnership, and then reaffirmed just a week ago. But it’s literally the end of an era: NetEase has been publishing Blizzard’s games in China for 14 years, a partnership that NetEase CEO William Ding said fell apart over “material differences on key terms (opens in new tab).”

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