Following their split earlier this year, NetEase is reportedly suing Blizzard over the refunds for games no longer available in China.
Last year it was announced that Blizzard would be pulling games like World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, and Overwatch from China due to it and NetEase being unable to come to an agreement on a new contract. Services for these titles, and other games like Warcraft 3, the StarCraft series, and Diablo 3, all went offline January 23, ending the 14 year agreement between the two companies. Now, according to a new report from Sina Technology (thanks, WoWHead), Blizzard could be facing a $43.5 million lawsuit for a number of claims.
The primary claim from NetEase is that Blizzard apparently promised refunds to over one million players that wanted them when servers for games like WoW, Overwatch, and more went offline in China. However, NetEase apparently had to cover these refunds as Blizzard allegedly had not covered them. NetEase is also looking for compensation over unsold merchandise inventory and undeveloped games, as the company apparently had to make a “huge deposit for several games in advance, while Blizzard did not refund the relevant deposit when the relevant games were not developed.”
Details on if the lawsuit has even been filed or not yet aren’t available at the moment, so who knows when this could get resolved, if it even goes through. China was a massive market for Blizzard, though the company is planning to bring the games back to the region through other means in the future.
Blizzard is also currently attempting to be acquired by Microsoft, and the UK’s decision on the almost $70 billion deal will be coming this week. The ruling will obviously make or break the deal, so Microsoft has been doing whatever it can to prove the deal won’t be damaging for its competitors.
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The video game development giants Blizzard Entertainment Inc. are reportedly facing a $43.5 million lawsuit from their Chinese joint venture partner NetEase, Inc. over a controversial dispute about disputed payments for digital purchases.
According to a report from Reuters, the lawsuit was filed by NetEase against Blizzard in the Delaware Chancery Court on Tuesday afternoon. The dispute reportedly revolves around Blizzard’s refusal to reimburse customers who purchased certain digital games and content during the coronavirus pandemic.
The lawsuit stems from Blizzard’s decision to refund Chinese players who had purchased digital items in the game ‘Diablo 3’ they were not able to use due to the shutdown of most of its servers in China. In a statement released by NetEase, the company said that Blizzard had refused to reimburse the Chinese players for their purchases, thus resulting in the filing of the lawsuit.
NetEase alleges that Blizzard’s decision to refuse the refunds put millions of dollars of NetEase’s money at risk and infringed on their agreement as joint venture partners in the Chinese market. The lawsuit also claims that Blizzard’s refusal to reimburse the buyers amounted to a breach of contract, as stated in their agreement.
The lawsuit represents a significant escalation in what was previously thought to be a terse disagreement between the two companies. In addition to the $43.5 million in damages, the lawsuit seeks a court order forbidding Blizzard from engaging in similar conduct in the future.
The lawsuit is just the latest legal battle the two companies have faced in recent months. Last month, Blizzard sued NetEase, accusing them of violating their joint venture agreement in regards to the mobile version of Blizzard’s hit video game ‘Diablo Immortal’. It remains to be seen how this particular dispute will play out and if NetEase is able to be successful in its legal pursuits against Blizzard.