The number of people in China waiting to get a refund for games made by Blizzard Entertainment exceeded 1 million in less than 24 hours after the refund plan was announced by distributor NetEase Games.
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 (23 January).
This reimbursement applies to a substantial portion of the game's content. This includes any unused Battle.net points, World of Warcraft services, and Overwatch and Diablo III in-game currency.
The refund channels opened on Wednesday (1 February). Applications for refund will be accepted until 30 June 2023.
To submit a refund request, players needed to go to the "Blizzard Game Service Center" official account. “The final refund amount will be based on the actual number of refundable products remaining in the player's account after the suspension of services," the NetEase statement read.
Players who do not submit refund requests before the deadline are considered to have willingly relinquished their rights.
The staggering amount of people waiting for a refund already made many concerned about NetEase's ability to finish the refund process for Chinese players before the conclusion of the refund application day.
Some have even complained on the NetEase Customer Service Weibo page that the system keeps crashing. "What should I do if the data keeps failing to download?" one user asked.
On the other hand, some players said that they prefer not to seek a refund to "walk away" from the Blizzard game that they’ve been playing for years.
"Actually, I am very grateful to Blizzard. I have no worries about Warcraft anymore. It is time to fight for a better life and say goodbye to another world," another user said in response to the NetEase announcement on Weibo.
Blizzard has changed its agent three times in over 20 years since it first entered China. A&M was the first distributor to launch more than a dozen Blizzard games and expansion films, followed by The9 Limited, when it got the agency rights to World of Warcraft in 2004.
By June 2009, there were approximately 5 million paying users on the Chinese mainland, accounting for about half of the total number of gamers worldwide.
However, Blizzard switched agents again in 2009, this time partnering with NetEase.
The decision to end the partnership was announced in 2022 November. And after some back-and-forth statements from both companies, NetEase rejected Activision Blizzard’s request for a 6-month extension.
The Chinese company was offended at the US-based developer’s offer, criticising it as unequal and unfair.
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.