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Microsoft and NetEase Team Up to Reignite Gaming Passions in China

Analyst Team trader
Updated 10 Apr 2024

Microsoft Corp's (NASDAQ: MSFT) share price added 0.40% yesterday as the news of a landmark partnership with China's NetEase Inc (HKG:9999 up almost 1% today) hit markets. The ripples through the gaming community, that will see the reintroduction of iconic Blizzard Entertainment titles in China are strong.

This major collaboration, after the previous relationship broke down, is set to bring fan favourites such as “World of Warcraft” back to Chinese screens, marking a new era after the highly publicised split between NetEase and Blizzard.

Since 2008, NetEase was the official publisher of Blizzard games in China, a partnership that continued until early 2023. The new chapter unfolding this summer promises to bring back not only “World of Warcraft,” but a plethora of revered titles from the Blizzard portfolio, including “Hearthstone,” “Overwatch,” “Diablo,” and “StarCraft.” This agreement spells a renaissance for these beloved franchises, which have been sorely missed by the Chinese gaming community.


Investors have welcomed the news, with NetEase's share price experiencing a surge by approximately 0.83% today, a continuation of the upward trend that began with a roughly 5.5% increase the last 5 days. The bullish sentiment in the stock market underscores the high expectations set upon this renewed partnership, with implications far beyond nostalgia. The return of these games is seen not only as a win for gamers but as a strategic business manoeuvre in China's video game market—a market eager for the comeback of these world-renowned titles.

The split between NetEase and Blizzard back in 2023 had far-reaching consequences, with a myriad of Blizzard's games disappearing from the Chinese internet, much to the dismay of gamers. The saga triggered intense online discussion, culminating in over a million requests for refunds due to the unspent in-game credits, highlighting the depth of engagement and dedication held by Chinese fans towards these games.

Beyond the celebrated return of Blizzard's games, there's a pioneering element to this partnership; the two giants are exploring opportunities to bring NetEase games to Microsoft's venerable Xbox platform among others. This strategic endeavor could catapult NetEase into new international markets, significantly elevating its profile and market reach, as emphasized by industry analysts.

Blizzard Entertainment has expressed great enthusiasm at rekindling their partnership with NetEase, affirming their determination to revitalize the Chinese gaming scene. The joint statement emanates a commitment to restoring the presence of what they term as ‘legendary gaming experiences' for Chinese players—a sentiment that echoes the anticipation felt across the gaming world.

This groundbreaking partnership between NetEase and Microsoft illustrates the transformative power of strategic alliances in the tech and entertainment industries. As the summer approaches, the gaming landscape in China braces for a revolution, one that promises to bring back cherished gaming experiences and forge new ones for players and investors alike. The collaboration is more than a business agreement—it is a beacon of hope for a market in search of revival.

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The AskTraders Analyst Team features experts in technical and fundamental analysis, as well as traders specializing in stocks, forex, and cryptocurrency.