SHANGHAI, CHINA – August 12, 2008 Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. and NetEase.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: NTES) today announced an agreement to license Blizzard Entertainment®'s StarCraft® II, Warcraft® III: Reign of Chaos, Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, and Battle.net® platform, which provides online multiplayer services for these games, to Shanghai EaseNet Network Technology Limited, an affiliated company of NetEase.com, Inc. Blizzard Entertainment and NetEase have also established a joint venture, which will provide support for the operation of the licensed games and Battle.net platform in China.
"NetEase has been a leader in the Chinese game market, and we look forward to working with them to deliver high-quality entertainment to Chinese gamers," said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. "This partnership is a sign of our continued commitment to our players in China and to the local industry."
William Ding, CEO of NetEase, stated, "We're excited to be partnering with Blizzard Entertainment to bring StarCraft II and Battle.net to China. We hope to combine Blizzard Entertainment's expertise in developing world-class games with NetEase's strength in online-game operation in China to bring the best gaming experiences to our players."
The term of the license will be three years, with a mutual one-year renewal period, commencing from the commercial release of StarCraft II in the PRC. Under the agreements, Shanghai EaseNet will pay a revenue-based royalty over the license period, while NetEase will pay a milestone-based license fee and fund and guarantee certain additional payments and operating expenses in connection with the joint venture.
NetEase.com, Inc. is a leading China-based Internet technology company that pioneered the development of applications, services and other technologies for the Internet in China. NetEase's online communities and personalized premium services have established a large and stable user base for the NetEase websites. In particular, NetEase provides online game services to Internet users through the licensing or in-house development of massively multiplayer online role-playing games, including Fantasy Westward Journey, Westward Journey Online II, Westward Journey Online III, and TianXia 2.
Best known for blockbuster hits including World of Warcraft® and the Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo® franchises, Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. (www.blizzard.com), a division of Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI), is a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software renowned for creating some of the industry's most critically acclaimed games. Blizzard Entertainment’s track record includes sixteen #1-selling games and multiple Game of the Year awards. The company's online-gaming service, Battle.net®, is one of the largest in the world, with millions of active players.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements: Information in this press release that involves Blizzard Entertainment’s expectations, plans, intentions or strategies regarding the future are forward-looking statements that are not facts and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Blizzard Entertainment generally uses words such as “outlook,” “will,” “could,” “would,” “might,” “remains,” “to be,” “plans,” “believes,” “may,” “expects,” “intends,” “anticipates,” “estimate,” “future,” “plan,” “positioned,” “potential,” “project,” “remain,” “scheduled,” “set to,” “subject to,” “upcoming” and similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause Blizzard Entertainment’s actual future results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements set forth in this release include, but are not limited to, sales levels of Blizzard Entertainment’s titles, shifts in consumer spending trends, the impact of the current macroeconomic environment, the seasonal and cyclical nature of the interactive game market, declines in software pricing, product returns and price protection, product delays, retail acceptance of Blizzard Entertainment’s products, competition from the used game market, industry competition and competition from other forms of entertainment, rapid changes in technology, industry standards and consumer preferences, including interest in specific genres such as real-time strategy, action–role-playing and massively multiplayer online games, protection of proprietary rights, litigation against Blizzard Entertainment, maintenance of relationships with key personnel, customers, licensees, licensors, vendors and third-party developers, including the ability to attract, retain and develop key personnel and developers who can create high quality “hit” titles, counterparty risks relating to customers, licensees, licensors and manufacturers, domestic and international economic, financial and political conditions and policies, foreign exchange rates and tax rates, and the identification of suitable future acquisition opportunities, and the other factors identified in the risk factors section of Activision Blizzard’s most recent annual report on Form 10-K and any subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. The forward-looking statements in this release are based upon information available to Blizzard Entertainment and Activision Blizzard as of the date of this release, and neither Blizzard Entertainment nor Activision Blizzard assumes any obligation to update any such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements believed to be true when made may ultimately prove to be incorrect. These statements are not guarantees of the future performance of Blizzard Entertainment or Activision Blizzard and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of which are beyond its control and may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations.