After three years of development, Blizzard and NetEase discontinued a World of Warcraft mobile game following a financial dispute. World of Warcraft has remained one of the biggest breadwinners for Blizzard and NetEase, so it’s not surprising that the two game developers would use its content when attempting to break into the mobile game scene. The scrapped mobile game code-named Neptune was a massively multiplayer online role-playing game. It was set to be a spin-off of World of Warcraft in the same universe but in a different time period.
According to Bloomberg, after disagreeing on terms over Neptune and terminating it, NetEase disbanded “a team of more than 100 developers” that worked on the discontinued mobile game. It was also reported that only some of the developers within that team were offered “internal transfers” within NetEase. This decision landed a huge blow on the relationship between the two companies, which was already on the rocks due to Blizzard’s recent sexual harassment allegations. NetEase and Blizzard have been in a partnership since 2008, allowing Blizzard to access the large expanse of the Chinese market.
Bloomberg: Blizzard and NetEase have cancelled a mobile World Of Warcraft spin-off game that’s been in dev for 3+ years
The game was a MMO RPG set in the same universe as WoW during a different time period
— Nibel (@Nibellion) August 3, 2022
Diablo Immortal, a mobile game based on Blizzard’s Diablo, was the first game NetEase and Blizzard developed a title together. The mobile game was at the center point in their quarterly earnings report on Monday. Despite their hopes of its debut improving Activision-Blizzard’s growth, it was reported that “Blizzard’s net revenues were still down 7% year-over-year to $401 million.” That being said, the launch did have the effect of pushing active users up to 27 million. It’s unknown if recent events will spell the end of Blizzard and NetEase’s long partnership, but the cracks are there to see.