World Of Warcraft is being taken offline in China leaving millions devastated
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Featured Image Credit: Blizzard Entertainment
Last year, the Chinese technology company NetEase and Activision Blizzard failed to find a resolution regarding the licensing of Diablo III, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, Overwatch 2, the StarCraft series, Warcraft III: Reforged and World of Warcraft. As a result, these games will no longer be playable by the end of the day.
Gaming is huge in China however it is regulated highly by the Chinese Communist Party. Late last year, the country claimed that is had "resolved" gaming addiction in children and young people following sanctions such as curfews, facial recognition for logging into online games and time limits of three hours a week allowed for gaming. Naturally, a fair few of the rebellious whippersnappers found ways to get by these restrictions, but this time, there's no saving World of Warcraft from its fate.
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"We have put in a great deal of effort and tried with our utmost sincerity to negotiate with Activision Blizzard so that we could continue our collaboration and serve the many dedicated players in China. However, there were material differences on key terms and we could not reach an agreement," stated NetEase CEO William Ding in November 2022.
Expectedly, there's been an outpouring of grief on Weibo, the major social media platform in China. “It’s the end,” said one player with a series of crying emojis (thanks to The Guardian). “It was not just a game. It was also the memories of a whole generation of young Chinese,” lamented another, but some are seeing the silver lining. “The two companies have taken players hostage,” said Wu, who is said to be a longtime fan of World of Warcraft. “I didn’t give my wife enough time. Now that World of Warcraft is gone, I want to make amends.” That's some positivity at least.