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 even “Hearthstone”.
“It’s the end,” wrote a user of the Weibo social network, a “World of Warcraft” player, who accompanied his message with a crying emoji.
“It was not just a game. It was also the memories of a whole generation’s youth” of Chinese, underlines another.
Hugely popular around the world, especially in the 2000s, “World of Warcraft” (often abbreviated to “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.
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 Warcraft”, like those of the other titles, will be disconnected Tuesday at 00:00 Chinese time (16:00 GMT Monday).
“The two companies have taken the players hostage,” laments AFP Mr. Wu, a 32-year-old doctoral student who has been a fan of “World of Warcraft” for ten years.
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’ is gone, I want to make amends.”
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 “discussing” in parallel with “several potential partners who share our values” – implying that this 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 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.