NetEase, the second largest video game company in China announced that it is extending its longtime publishing partnership with Blizzard, as reported by GameDaily.biz. Under the renewed agreement, the two companies will continue publishing Blizzard games including Diablo, Overwatch, World of Warcraft and others in China until January 2023.
The partnership with NetEase dates back to 2008, when the Chinese company helped facilitate the launch of StarCraft II in China. Since then, Blizzard and NetEase have maintained a close relationship. However, the partnership has not been without its missteps.
In November 2018, Blizzard announced Diablo: Immortal during the BlizzCon keynote address. Co-developed with NetEase, Immortal will be the first mobile game entry in the franchise, and the announcement drew immediate backlash from its fanbase.
NetEase is also involved in the split between Bungie and Activision. Having invested $100 million in the Destiny 2 developer to create a new IP, NetEase owns a minority stake and has a seat on the company’s Board of Directors. As Bungie works out the details of its separation from Activision to become a self-publisher, NetEase could potentially move to fill the Activision’s shoes.