NetEase and Blizzard have continued their public breakup with a livestream showing NetEase tearing down a World of Warcraft statue outside its HQ. Those who helped were given green tea which was likely an insult to Blizzard, meaning that it's fake and manipulative.
This is in the wake of news that Blizzard and NetEase have ended their 14-year deal, meaning that World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Overwatch 2, and more are set to go offline in China on January 23. NetEase likened this to cheating while filing for a divorce, as Blizzard offered to extend the deal by six months while it scouted for another partner.
According to esports caster Alan Gai (and as reported by VGC), this whole ceremonial takedown was streamed on the official Naraka Bladepoint channel, later surfacing on a Chinese TikTok account called ChaikingNDS. This video is where we see participants given "Blizzard Green Tea".
The statue was torn down on Wednesday following Blizzard's Weibo message where it said that all of its games would shut down in China on January 23. And while official statements and livestreams have clearly shown NetEase's anger at this fallout, head of partnerships Simon Zhu took to social media to comment on the breakup.
"One day, when what has happened behind the scenes can be told, developers and gamers will have a whole new level understanding of how much damage a jerk can make," Zhu posted.
It's unclear exactly why talks failed and why Blizzard wants another partner to begin with, though Blizzard's offer of a six month extension while it scouts for a new three-year partner is likely a big reason for NetEase's own frustration. We don't know when Blizzard's games will come back online in China or who it will partner with to make that happen, so we'll have to wait to see how this all plays out.
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