New agreement sets the stage for collaboration between the companies on the game’s upcoming fourth expansion set, Mists of Pandaria™
Shanghai, CHINA -- March 20, 2012 -- Blizzard Entertainment (NASDAQ: ATVI) and NetEase.com (NASDAQ: NTES) today announced that they will continue their existing cooperation on Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft® in mainland China. The new license will continue for an additional three years following the expiration of the current license agreement.
The companies have been working together to bring World of Warcraft to Chinese gamers since 2009. In that time, they have successfully launched Wrath of the Lich King® and Cataclysm®, the game’s second and third expansion sets, in mainland China, and earned the enthusiastic support of gamers across the country. In addition to World of Warcraft, Blizzard Entertainment and NetEase’s existing partnership covers Blizzard Entertainment’s Warcraft® III and StarCraft® II, as well as the Battle.net® gaming platform.
The extended license agreement further reinforces the existing partnership between Blizzard Entertainment and NetEase and lays the groundwork to bring Mists of Pandaria™, the upcoming fourth expansion to World of Warcraft, to mainland China. First unveiled at BlizzCon® 2011, Mists of Pandaria features a variety of elements influenced by Eastern culture and introduces a new playable race (the pandaren), a new class (the monk), an expansive new continent to explore, an all-new pet battle system, scenarios, challenge modes, and more.
“We’re grateful for the tremendous enthusiasm Chinese gamers have shown for World of Warcraft over the years, and we’re pleased to be renewing our agreement for the game in China,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “We look forward to working with NetEase to deliver all of the new features and content of Mists of Pandaria to Chinese players as soon as possible.”
“We are excited to continue our partnership with Blizzard Entertainment after three years of highly effective cooperation on World of Warcraft,” stated William Ding, CEO of NetEase. “Both companies have complementary business strategies and share a similar corporate culture. I am confident that with Blizzard Entertainment’s expertise in developing world-class games and NetEase’s experience in local game operation, we will be able to provide the best gaming experiences for players in China.”
About NetEase.com Inc.
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, which are operated by its affiliates. In particular, NetEase provides online game services to Internet users through its in-house development or licensing of massively multi-player online role-playing games, including Fantasy Westward Journey, Westward Journey Online II and III, Tianxia III, Heroes of Tang Dynasty, Datang and Ghost, as well as the licensed Blizzard Entertainment games World of Warcraft and StarCraft II.
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.