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Hirun Cryer

NetEase reportedly suing Blizzard, seeking $43.5 million for player refunds

A dragon from World of Warcraft looks at another player riding a dragon

NetEase is reportedly suing Blizzard over refunds for discontinued games in China.

Last year in November, Blizzard announced games like World of Warcraft would be leaving China, due to the studio being unable to renew a licensing agreement with publisher NetEase. Later in January, after Blizzard-developed games had shut down in China, the developer claimed NetEase had rejected a deal to keep game servers alive in China.

Now, it's been reported that NetEase is suing Blizzard over player refunds for games that had their servers shut down earlier this year in January. As reported by WowHead, Chinese media outlet Sina Technology claims NetEase will sue Blizzard to the tune of roughly $43.5 million USD for compensation for refunds for Chinese players affected by the server closures.

The likes of World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and Overwatch were all affected by the server shutdown earlier this year. Sina Technology reports that NetEase has actually already paid refunds to over one million Chinese players of Blizzard games seeking compensation, but is apparently now seeking damages from Blizzard directly.

It's a bit of a messy situation, complicated by Blizzard's past claim that it was NetEase's fault that the licensing agreement wasn't renewed. There's currently no indication from Sina Technology as to whether the lawsuit against Blizzard has already been filed by NetEase, so there's no clue when an agreement could potentially be reached between the two sides.

China is a major games market for Blizzard. Last year, it was reported that simply delaying Diablo Immortal from launching in China was costing Blizzard millions each and every day. Considering this, it's easy to see why the failed licensing agreement could've potentially been hugely damaging for Blizzard.

If you missed it, it looks like World of Warcraft is getting a Diablo 4 event to coincide with the latter's launch later this year in June.

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