If you currently reside in China, you're likely to encounter difficulties with connecting to your Overwatch or World of Warcraft account. You're may be left wondering if the issue is on your end or if the games are banned in the country.
So, here's a quick breakdown of what happened between Blizzard Entertainment China and NetEase, and whether Overwatch and WoW are really prohibited in China.
Is Overwatch and WoW legal in China?
No. Overwatch 2 and WoW are not banned in China, but their servers are deactivated.
Blizzard's licensing agreements with NetEase expired on January 23, leaving all Blizzard games, including WoW, Hearthstone, Warcraft III: Reforged, Overwatch, the StarCraft series, Diablo III, and Heroes of the Storm, out of stock. The only Blizzard-owned game in China is Diablo Immortal, which is under a completely different agreement between the two companies.
Why were Overwatch and WoW shut down in China?
Blizzard first announced its intention to leave China in November 2022 after a failed attempt to reach an agreement and renew their contract. However, Blizzard was unable to find a service provider in accordance with Blizzard's "operating principles and commitments to players and employees."
Blizzard approached NetEase once more, seeking a six-month extension of their current agreement. As a result, NetEase dismantled the Bizzard team and demolished an iconic orc monument.
The only silver lining is that Chinese players may continue to play their favorite Blizzard games, but only on Taiwanese, NA, or EU servers. For this, they will have to create new accounts.