The Chinese say goodbye to the MMORPG at World of Warcraft

The rift between multiplayer online game publisher Blizzard and its Chinese partner has led to the shutdown of local servers.

Chinese players of World of Warcraft express their sadness on Monday a few hours before the deactivation in China of the famous video game, after a dispute between the American developer Blizzard and its local partner NetEase. Other popular titles from the Californian group, a world heavyweight in the sector, will suffer the same fate, such as Overwatch, Diablo III or Hearthstone.

It is the end“, writes a user of the Weibo social network, player World of Warcraft, which accompanies his message with a crying emoji. “It wasn’t just a game. It was also childhood memories of a whole generation.from Chinese, points out another.

Hugely popular around the world, especially in the 2000s, World of Warcraft (often abbreviated as wow) is a multiplayer online role-playing game that takes place in a medieval-fantasy universe. Blizzard has offered its games in China since 2008 through a collaboration with Chinese internet giant NetEase, with overseas developers forced to partner with a local partner to enter the market.

Against the background of Sino-American rivalries

But the two companies had announced in November, after 14 years of marriage, that discussions to renew the operating contracts had not been successful. Consequence: the Chinese servers of World of Warcraftlike those of other titles, will be disconnected on Tuesday at 0:00 a.m. Chinese time (16:00 GMT Monday).

Both companies took the players hostage“, laments to AFP Mr. Wu, a 32-year-old doctoral student, fan of World of Warcraft from a decade. But he who played up to three hours a day also sees the good side of things. “I didn’t give my wife enough time. Now that World of Warcraft disappears, I want to be forgiven.»

Last week, Blizzard China said it had requested an exceptional six-month contract extension, which NetEase refused, accusing the American company of playing on several fronts. To continue to offer its titles in China, the Californian group had indicated “discuss” in parallel with “several potential partners who share our values– implying that was not the case with NetEase. This deactivation of the Chinese servers is not “the epilogue” but just “an unfortunate temporary suspension“said the Chinese group hope in a press release published on Monday.

User data can be saved in the event of a return to China of Blizzard games, according to the American company.

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