Back in August last year, Blizzard ended its partnership with the Chinese online services and gaming company, NetEase, a divorce that wasn’t kind or easy for either side. Both sides blamed each other for the collapse but recently The Chinese developer says that it will be filing a lawsuit against the owner of the Warcraft IP.
News of the potential lawsuit was first reported by Sina Technology. According to the report, NetEase is seeking approximately US$43.5 million (~RM193.4 million) in damages from Blizzard, all from a handful of claims. The first claim refers to Blizzard’s alleged failed promise to refund players that made the requests after its servers in China went offline on 23 January this year, and its ex-partner was left to honour the claims for 1.12 million players.
NetEase is also seeking compensation for Blizzard’s alleged violation of licensing agreements, as well redress for what it claims to be “unequal provisions” related to the former. Further, the company is also seeking compensation for what it refers to as unsold merchandise inventory, which actually has us genuinely thinking over what sort of merchandise the two companies have been making and selling over in China.
Another issue NetEase has with Blizzard is that the latter apparently initially required the former to sign multiple “overlord clauses”, whereby the Chinese developer was forced to pay huge deposits in advance for several games, but were not issued a refund when said titles failed to take off. This claim, in particular, is interesting, as it could include existing products that have been tweaked for the Chinese market. Understandably so, given that China’s stance on video games has proven time and time again to be exceedingly more restrictive than the rest of the world.
Blizzard itself says that it has yet to the receive a suit or related papers from NetEase yet, but it has also made it clear about one specific claim that it had covered accurately that the former partner is “contractually responsible” for operations. Be that as it may, it is still sad to see a 14-year relationship come to end, but as one of our writers commented, making a game like Diablo Immortal may have been the final nail in NetEase’s coffin, no matter how much of a comeback it projected when it officially hit the mobile gaming market in 2021.
(Source: Sina Technology via Wowhead, PCGamer)
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