On June 3rd, Blizzard’s Diablo Immortal, a mobile title set in the Diablo universe, was released worldwide. To launch the game in China, Blizzard had shaken hands with NetEase, who also co-developed the game.
For players in China, Diablo Immortal was supposed to roll out on June 23rd. However, NetEase has now delayed the release. This comes after the company’s official handle on Weibo was banned for posting content that violated the platform’s guidelines.
Co-Developer NetEase published a controversial post on Weibo
NetEase allegedly published a post that had references to Xi Jinping. The post featured the cartoon Winnie the Pooh, and was captioned “why hasn’t the bear stepped down?” For context, Winnie the Pooh is often used to mock the Chinese president.
Weibo quickly blocked NetEase’s account and the post, along with its discussions, was removed. As the publisher has now run into trouble with the Chinese authorities, Diablo Immortal doesn’t have a definite release date.
In a blog post on the official website, the developer has notified fans of the delay. The post cites “optimization adjustments” as the reason for the delay. You can take a look at the screenshot below:
The post also promises exclusive rewards to players as a token of appreciation for waiting. Players in China can obtain these legendary items after the game releases and their characters are registered.
Following the delay, NetEase stocks have plummeted. As reported by Bloomberg, the shares fell by almost 11% in Hong Kong. This drop is said to be the lowest in the last nine months. Several analysts have pointed out that investors believe there are larger issues behind the delay.
Despite all the controversies about microtransactions, Diablo Immortal continues to experience a surge in downloads as well as revenue. Players in other parts of the world can download the game from Google Play and the App Store.
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