Diablo Immortal may not release in China, here’s what we know

Olivia Richman • June 27, 2022 3:23 pm

Blizzard’s controversial new mobile game Diablo Immortal has seen further delays to its Chinese launch, causing many fans to wonder what’s actually happening and if the game will ever launch in China.

After a tumultuous release in North America, potential pay-to-win mobile game Diablo Immortal was set to release in China. But Diablo Immortal’s launch was postponed after the game’s official Weibo account called Chinese leader Xi Jinping “Winnie the Pooh.” According to a translation shared on Reddit, the post read: “Why isn’t [Winnie] the bear going out of office yet?”

These comparisons between Xi Jinping and Winnie the Pooh have been condemned by the Chinese government in the past, leading to various media and gaming bans. Chinese government officials have gone so far as to censor Winnie the Pooh in China. It’s currently unclear how the message was broadcast on the Diablo Immortal Weibo account.

Will Diablo Immortal be released in China?

The insulting post from Diablo Immortal’s Weibo account went viral quite fast, resulting in penalties for NetEase, Blizzard’s Chinese distribution partner. Diablo Immortal’s marketing was shut down and it’s also being speculated that NetEase will receive a license to publish games in China for the next three years.

It’s currently unclear if this is true, but it’s concerning for Chinese fans of Blizzard games. If NetEase can’t publish games for three years, Blizzard games beyond Diablo Immortal won’t be available in China. This could potentially include Diablo 4, Overwatch 2, and new World of Warcraft expansion Dragonflight.

Is Diablo Immortal banned from China?

There is no confirmation that Diablo Immortal is permanently banned from releasing in China. For now, it appears that Diablo Immortal’s release has been delayed following a controversy involving the game’s Weibo account and it making a connection between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and the Winnie the Pooh character.

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