The NetEase team in charge of Blizzard games in China has been “disbanded”, according to the latest information published in the Asian country.
The South China Morning Post explains that members of the team began to be fired in November last year, when managers began to assume that the collaboration agreement with Blizzard, signed for the last fourteen years, was not going to be renewed. Now, the rest of the employees that remained in this team have also been fired or reassigned within the company.
A small group of ten people in charge of customer service and technical support will remain, yes, for six months, to finish closing the problems resulting from the departure of Blizzard. Once this period ends, these ten employees will also be reassigned.
The end of the agreement between NetEase and Blizzard means that as of next January 23, all of the North American company’s games, including World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Hearthstone or Diablo 3, will stop working in China.
The reason why NetEase has failed to prolong its lucrative deal to publish Blizzard titles in China has not been made public, although it appears that behind the scenes there was controversy.
Simon Zhu, NetEase’s president of global investment and partnerships, blamed in a LinkedIn post – in which he also claimed to have played ten thousand hours of Blizzard games – an “asshole” for it.
“One day, everything that has happened can be counted, and developers and players will understand the amount of damage an asshole can do,” he explained. “I feel terrible for the people who lived on those worlds.”