Photo credit: Esports Insider/Mailman Group
It’s been a rough end to November for Chinese fans of Blizzard titles. Activision Blizzard ended its 14-year partnership with Chinese game publisher NetEase, meaning Chinese gamers are currently unable to play Blizzard games as of January 23.
Meanwhile, former Chinese President Jiang Zemin passed away on November 30 at the age of 96; Several esports and gaming companies have suspended their events to mourn his passing, including the LPL All-Star.
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Esports events suspended in mourning for Jiang Zemin
China’s League of Legends Esports operator announced it was suspending its League of Legends Pro League (LPL) All-Star events “in response to the related notice.” News broke of the death of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin, and the whole country suspended its entertainment services, including games and game-related live streaming, for an entire day on December 6th.
The LPL All-Star was the industry’s first esports event to respond to Jiang’s death. Jiang was also the former mayor of Shanghai City, the center of China’s e-sports industry. During his tenure as President Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping’s successors, resources and international games began to be imported into Chinese families.
Activision Blizzard ends 14-year partnership with NetEase in China
On November 17, game publisher Activision Blizzard and China’s second-largest game publisher NetEase ended their long-standing partnership. All major Blizzard titles including World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Warcraft III: Reforged, Overwatch, StarCraft II and Heroes of Storm will be suspended at midnight on January 24th. Activision Blizzard has announced that it is looking for alternative partners in China; Tencent, Perfect World, Bilibili and ByteDance could be the possible options.
This is a major disruption for Blizzard fans and players in China. With no more Blizzard games after January 23 next year, esports organizations and live streaming platforms have fired many professional gamers and streamers.
Additionally, if Blizzard finds an alternative partner in China, all banned Blizzard games will need to apply for a new gaming license from the Chinese authorities. The period for applying for gaming licenses can take months or even years. The Olympic Council of Asia may need to change Hearthstone to another esports title for the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou in 2023.
Photo Credit: Blizzard Entertainment/NetEase
Dubai Esports Festival with PUBG Global Championship and Hollywood stars
On November 21, Chinese tournament organizer VSPN and Dubai Department of Commerce and Tourism (DET) hosted the Dubai Esports Festival in the city, featuring the PUBG Global Championship (PGC), an esports tournament honoring the kings with a purse of $25,000, and a meeting. And greets with Hollywood stars Chris Hemsworth, Stephen Amell and Kit Harington.
November is a particularly important month for the Middle East region, as it not only hosted the FIFA World Cup, but also hosted numerous e-sports events with the support of Chinese e-sports companies. VSPN and the entire Middle East esports scene also made a significant move by hosting a global esports event – PGC and its inaugural Honor of Kings tournament. It showcases extensive esports and sports business opportunities in the region.
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