Over 1 Million Chinese Gamers Call for Blizzard Game Refunds

Blizzard Games players in China must submit their refund request to NetEase by June 30, 2023. (Photo: Activision Blizzard)

The number of people in China hoping to get a refund for games created by Blizzard Entertainment surpassed 1 million in less than 24 hours after distributor NetEase Games announced the refund plan.

NetEase previously announced a refund plan for all players of world of warcraft, Overwatch, Diablo 3, StarCraft, and Hearthstone in China after it ended its 14-year distribution partnership with Activision Blizzard last week (January 23).

This refund applies to a substantial portion of the in-game content. This includes unused Battle.net points, World of Warcraft services, and in-game currency from Overwatch and Diablo III.

Refund channels opened on Wednesday (Feb 1). Refund requests will be accepted until June 30, 2023.

To submit a refund request, players had to go to the official “Blizzard Game Service Center” account. “The final refund amount will be based on the actual amount of refundable products left in the player’s account after the suspension of services,” the NetEase statement read.

Players who do not submit refund requests by the deadline are deemed to have voluntarily waived their rights.

The number of refunds exceeded 1,000,260 in one day, according to this post on Weibo.  (Photo: Weibo via Yahoo News TW, Activision Blizzard)

The number of refunds exceeded 1,000,260 in one day, according to this post on Weibo. (Screenshot: Weibo via Yahoo News TW, Photo: Activision Blizzard)

The staggering number of people waiting for a refund has already caused many to worry about NetEase’s ability to finish the refund process for Chinese players before the day of the refund request concludes.

Some have even complained on the NetEase customer support Weibo page that the system keeps crashing. “What should I do if the data still cannot be downloaded?” asked one user.

Some players have been experiencing crashes due to NetEase's overloaded refund page.

Some players have been experiencing crashes due to NetEase’s overloaded refund page. “What should I do if the data still can’t be downloaded?” said one user. (Screenshot: Weibo)

On the other hand, some gamers said they’d rather not seek a refund in order to “walk away” from the Blizzard game they’ve been playing for years.

“Actually, I’m very grateful to Blizzard. I’m not worried about Warcraft anymore. It’s time to fight for a better life and say goodbye to another world,” another user said in response to NetEase’s Weibo announcement.

Blizzard has changed agents three times in the more than 20 years since it first entered China. A&M was the first distributor to release more than a dozen Blizzard expansion games and movies, followed by The9 Limited, when it obtained agency rights to World of Warcraft in 2004.

As of June 2009, there were approximately 5 million paying users in mainland China, which was about half of the total number of players worldwide.

However, Blizzard switched agents again in 2009, this time partnering with NetEase.

The decision to end the partnership was announced in November 2022. And after some back and forth from both companies, NetEase rejected Activision Blizzard’s request for a 6-month extension.

The Chinese company was offended by the US-based developer’s offer, criticizing it as lopsided and unfair.

As a result, he livestreamed the demolition of Blizzard’s offices in China to thousands of people online.

Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She is also a foodie who loves a good cup of black coffee.

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