Millions of Chinese gamers lost access to the game “World of Warcraft” on Tuesday morning after its servers in China shut down.
Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images
- Millions of gamers in China lost access to “World of Warcraft” overnight.
- Game servers were shutdown after a licensing agreement between Blizzard and China’s NetEase expired.
- Fans took to social media to express their devastation about no longer being able to play.
Millions of Chinese gamers will no longer be able to play the wildly popular MMORPG “World Of Warcraft.”
Blizzard Entertainment — the company behind “World of Warcraft” and other popular online role-playing games — suspended its servers in China at midnight after a licensing agreement with NetEase Games, China’s “World of Warcraft” distribution partner, expired.
The licensing agreement also included games such as “Hearthstone” and “Diablo III,” according to a Blizzard press release.
Released in 2004, “World of Warcraft” is a fantasy game in which players create an avatar that can fight monsters, complete quests, and engage with other players in the medieval Azeroth universe.
The game is played by millions of users worldwide, including those in China, where many disappointed players took to Weibo — China’s version of Twitter — to express their grievances over the loss of their favorite game, CNN reported.
“When I woke up, I still didn’t want to accept [it],” one player said on Weibo, according to CNN. “I cried all night in my sleep because the game went offline.”
Another “World of Warcraft” player said on Weibo that the game was ‘my first love,’ per CNN.
The end of “World of Warcraft” in China — which arrived in the country in 2008 — is a result of a tense dispute between Blizzard and NetEase that occurred last November.
“Unfortunately, after renewed discussions last week, NetEase did not accept our proposal for an extension,” Blizzard said in a statement on Weibo last week that was reviewed by CNN.
NetEase quickly clapped back with its own statement that it posted on QQ, a Chinese instant messaging platform. The company called Blizzard’s proposal “unequal” and “unfair.”
“We believe that Blizzard’s proposal — including today’s sudden statement — is outrageous, inappropriate, and not in line with business logic,” NetEase said in its QQ statement.
“Today is such a sad moment to witness the server shutdown, and we don’t know how things will play out in the future,” Simon Zhu, the president of global investments and partnerships of NetEase, said in a LinkedIn post.
Blizzard and NetEase did not respond to requests for comment from Insider before publication.
Despite the “World of Warcraft” fallout, NetEase said that it will continue to work with Blizzard to launch “Diablo Immortal” — another popular role-playing game — in the country, according to a November statement from the company.