(Yicai Global) May 25 -- There seems to be no end to the spat between Blizzard Entertainment and NetEase following the end of their 14-year partnership, as the US game developer is taking the Chinese online gaming giant to court.
Notices were added recently to corporate information platform Tianyancha about two new legal cases against NetEase for alleged copyright and trademark infringements and unfair competition. Blizzard is the plaintiff in both cases, which will be heard by a court in the Chinese city of Hangzhou on June 1.
A source close to Blizzard told Yicai Global that the lawsuits are related to the server for World of Warcraft Veteran launched by Hangzhou-based NetEase during their contract termination period.
In January 2023, a person close to Blizzard told the media that the Warcraft Veteran Theme Server launched by NetEase’s game Nishuihan directly copied the intellectual property content of Blizzard’s World of Warcraft.
At the end of last month, news reports cited insiders as saying that since Blizzard refused to bear the refund costs for Chinese players and did not refund NetEase’s prepaid commission fees, it had sued the US firm, demanding CNY300 million (USD42.5 million). Blizzard said then that it had not received notice of the lawsuit.
Due to the failure to renew the terms of their agreement, NetEase, which was responsible for operating Blizzard’s games in the Chinese mainland, pulled the plug on the Chinese servers of a number of Blizzard games on Jan. 23, including World of Warcraft.
Due to the loss of its player base in China, the number of monthly active users of Blizzard games tumbled to 27 million in March from 45 million in December, according to video game media website Eurogamer.
Editor: Peter Thomas