Blizzard’s video games have been revealed in China by NetEase for 14 years, till that licensing settlement got here to an finish in January. It was not a harmonious break-up. Each side blamed the opposite for each the collapse of their settlement and the shortcoming to work out a solution to switch participant knowledge to any new accomplice’s servers (Blizzard nonetheless lacks a brand new Chinese language writer). The tip got here with the in-your-face symbolism of NetEase staff smashing up an enormous Gorehowl statue (a legendary World of Warcraft axe) in entrance of their workplaces, earlier than consuming “Blizzard green tea”, the latter primarily a Chinese language insult implying Blizzard is grasping and impure.

So that every one went properly, and at this time brings the information that NetEase is submitting a lawsuit towards Blizzard that is in search of 300 million Chinese language Yuan ($43.5 million / £35 million) made up of assorted claims (the swimsuit was first reported by Chinese language media Sina Expertise, through WoWhead). The principle parts are: 

  • Blizzard promised refunds for gamers who wished them when the Chinese language servers went offline on January 23, and NetEase says it has been left to honor this dedication to 1.12 million gamers and has executed so.
  • Violation of licensing agreements, and redress for “unequal provisions” in similar.
  • Compensation for unsold merchandise stock.
  • “As well as, this lawsuit includes many ‘overlord clauses’ signed between Blizzard and Netease,” reads the The Sina Finance report, “together with requiring Netease to pay an enormous deposit upfront for a number of video games, however Blizzard didn’t refund the related video games once they weren’t developed.”

That final level is probably the most tantalising, with NetEase claiming it paid Blizzard deposits for a number of video games that have been ultimately not developed. The wording, nonetheless, may imply loads of issues apart from unannounced Blizzard video games, together with current merchandise being tweaked for the Chinese language market. It may additionally simply be NetEase threatening to spill a few of Blizzard’s secrets and techniques. Little question, nonetheless, extra will come out in regards to the specifics. 

A few of NetEase’s grievances within the swimsuit appear extra easy, such because the declare Blizzard “outright refused” to tackle the duty of refunding Chinese language gamers, and in addition didn’t pay a pre-agreed fee price relating to those refunds. However there are additionally among the standard complaints about Blizzard and the unequal nature of the settlement: Each Blizzard and NetEase did very properly out of this through the years, so to show round on the finish and wail in regards to the oppressive phrases feels a bit of bitter.

I’ve contacted Blizzard for touch upon the lawsuit and its claims, and can update with any response.