Blizzard Cancels World of Warcraft MMORPG for Smartphones

Image: Blizzard Entertainment

It appears that Blizzard intends to keep the Warcraft MMORPG experience on PC for the time being.

Bloomberg’s Zheping Huang and Jason Schreier have reported that Activision Blizzard Inc. has decided to cancel a Warcraft smartphone game that had been in development for three years. The game was being developed in collaboration with China’s NetEase, a company that Blizzard had partnered with over a decade ago to operate its games in the Chinese market.

Development on the unannounced Warcraft game ceased because of disagreements between the two companies, something that raises “questions about one of the industry’s most lucrative business relationships,” according to Bloomberg.

The two companies disagreed over terms and ultimately called a halt to the project, which had been kept under wraps, a person familiar with the deal said, asking to not be identified discussing private information.

The decision casts uncertainty over Blizzard’s partnership with China’s No. 2 gaming giant, which affords the US studio a valuable window into the world’s biggest mobile market. Hangzhou-based NetEase publishes World of Warcraft and other Blizzard franchises in the country and is also a co-creator of the recently released Diablo Immortal, which is on track to become a commercial success despite criticism about its in-game purchases.

Bloomberg also shared the alleged code name for the canceled title, which was reportedly meant to be a spin-off of Blizzard’s hugely popular MMORPG.

The now-canceled title, code-named Neptune, was envisioned as a massively multiplayer online role-playing game set in the same universe as World of Warcraft. It wouldn’t be a direct translation of the popular online game but a spinoff, set during a different time period. A spokesperson for NetEase declined to comment. An Activision Blizzard spokesperson had no comment.

Blizzard and NetEase’s canceled Warcraft game is not to be confused with Warcraft Arclight Rumble, a mobile title that Blizzard unveiled in May for Android and iOS devices.

Warcraft Arclight Rumble invites “players to build armies with their favorite heroes and villains from Warcraft and battle it out in unique missions designed to test their tactical wits,” according to a press release.

It also includes “over 60 characters from across the Warcraft universe,” a single-player campaign with over 70 missions, a PvP mode, and more.

Source: Bloomberg

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