Foreign companies are not allowed to issue products in China. Blizzard therefore entered into a partnership in 2008 to release its games in the country via NetEase. As a result, Chinese players could still get started with popular titles such as World of Warcraft and Starcraft II.
That partnership only came to an end earlier this year, which NetEase is not happy about. The company is now suing Activision Blizzard for 300 million Yuan, the equivalent of approximately $43.5 million. This is reported by the Chinese publication Sina Technology (via Wowhead).
The reason for the charge is compensation for refunding games that are no longer supported, as well as merchandise that can no longer be sold. Also, Activision Blizzard would have received a lot of deposit for games that were never made and then failed to refund it.
End of collaboration due to miscommunication?
The successful collaboration came to an end after 14 years, after negotiations to extend the contract failed. Why the two sides could not agree has never become officially clear, but it is said to be due to a striking miscommunication.
NetEase CEO William Ding is said to have threatened to influence the Chinese government to block or allow the acquisition of Activision Blizzard to proceed, depending on talks. CEO Bobby Kotick is said to have stopped negotiations after the alleged threat. According to NetEase, it’s a misunderstanding and Ding never made a threat.