In a significant move that signals a possible rekindling of ties, NetEase, a major player in the gaming industry, is reportedly setting up a new office in Irvine, California, in close proximity to Blizzard Entertainment.
This development comes amid swirling rumors that Blizzard Entertainment is considering re-engaging with NetEase after its year-long suspension in the Chinese market. The history between Blizzard and NetEase has been lucrative in the past, marked by successful partnerships in bringing Blizzard’s iconic games to the massive Chinese gaming audience.
However, this relationship experienced an abrupt end when Blizzard’s server in China was suspended, leaving a notable void in the market. The current landscape suggests a promising turn of events but nothing is confirmed yet.
However, the Chinese media reports that the partnership is expected to be announced as early as next week but could take longer if server issues persist beyond an acceptable level.
As Blizzard navigates through negotiations with various Chinese gaming companies, the establishment of NetEase’s new office near Blizzard’s Irvine headquarters would be more than a mere geographical coincidence. This strategic move indicates a potential re-alliance that could see Blizzard’s return to the Chinese gaming sphere.
This comeback, however, would not be without its challenges. Both gaming giants face the challenging task of rebuilding a national service operation team, alongside rigorous testing of servers and related systems. Industry experts anticipate that this process could span over half a year, underscoring the complexity and scale of the endeavor.
NetEase’s primary objective is to initiate services before the Spring Festival, aligning with the interests of multiple stakeholders. It is conceivable that services might commence despite server issues, by implementing provisional measures.
Once the servers go live Blizzard plans to offer return incentives to players such as complimentary return gift packs. Specific gift pack contents, such as mounts for World of Warcraft.
Looking ahead, the implications of this renewed partnership would be profound to say the least. For Blizzard, it’s a chance to reclaim its foothold in China—a market that’s crucial for any global gaming entity. For NetEase, it’s an opportunity to strengthen its portfolio and reaffirm its status as a key player in the international gaming industry.