Diablo Immortal release in China delayed after Weibo ban

Diablo Immortal, inside the Elder Rift, with Experience Globes all over the land.

shots: Blizzard / Kotaku

Immortal Diablo It was one of the most controversial editions of 2022, as it was received Lowest user score ever in Metacriticwhile simultaneously receiving eight million downloads and making more than 24,000,000 dollars In the first two weeks. but, According to a report by ReutersThe announcement that its launch in China would be delayed by 11 hours sent NetEast shares tumbling. Right after Blizzard’s Weibo account Apparently Banned for making comments critical of the country’s system.

delay Immortal Diablo It was announced in China on Sunday, June 19, which then saw A 10% drop in NetEase shares during morning trading on Monday in Hong Kong. This comes three days before the game’s planned Chinese release, and just a few days after the game’s official Weibo account was suspended from being allowed to post.

Although there is no official reason for Weibo’s suspension, outlets indicate that it may have something to do with the official Immortal Diablo The account refers to Winnie the Pooh from AA Milne. A strange sentence to write, but references to the cute little bear have become a popular way to criticize China’s sweet, honey-loving leader, Xi Bing. To get an excellent primer on this, Check out this video.

One screenshot circulating online claims that the Blizzard account sent a message referring to the “bear” with some like financial times Translated into “Why didn’t the bear step down?” contact my boxThe line translates as, “What do you think of the bear?” But he says it is written as idiomatic. Either way, if it is real, it seems quite unusual to be posted on an official account in the state.

More immortal Diablo fighting, this time attacking the Skeletal Paladins.

shots: Blizzard / Kotaku

According to a press release Published on Blizzard’s Chinese websiteCause this is the last minute The delay is a need to make “a number of optimization tweaks to the game” (localized via Google), including optimizing model rendering, support for a wider range of devices, and “network and performance improvements”. The statement did not mention the social media incident at all.

Of course, it’s hard to take these comments entirely at face value, given the game’s highly successful launch everywhere else in the world a couple of weeks ago. It seems odd that a mobile game co-developed by Blizzard and NetEase will have display issues that only affect China, for example. It’s easier to believe that it would be harder to successfully launch your pivot product in the country while you don’t have access to social media accounts, and rather annoy the government. We’ve of course reached out to NetEase to inquire about this, and we’ll update you if they respond.

Things are pretty tense for gaming companies in China right now, with Campaigns on children’s access to toysAnd the Long periods between government regulators allowing releases. For NetEase, if not so much Activision-Blizzard, the Chinese version of Immortal Diablo It is a very important support pillar. 70% of the company’s income comes from gaming.

the game Received an astounding 15 million pre-registrations In China, NetEase Chief Financial Officer Charles Zhaoxuan Yang told investors last month, “We consider the emergence of Immortal Diablo Huge opportunity to show the world, especially the western gaming community, about NetEase’s powerful ability…”

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