‘Diablo Immortal’ game postponed to release in China by NetEase

‘Diablo Immortal’ game postponed to release in China by NetEase
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It seems like NetEase is in trouble.

Following the blocking of one of its social media accounts for allegedly making a politically sensitive comment, the Chinese gaming company postponed the release of a hotly anticipated video game in mainland China this week.

An announcement on NetEase’s (NTES) Chinese website on Sunday stated that the release of “Diablo Immortal,” which was planned for Thursday, has been postponed until further notice. The game’s co-creators are Activision Blizzard’s Blizzard Entertainment and NetEase (ATVI).

Although NetEase did not specify why the last-minute delay occurred, it implied in its statement that it was updating the game’s technological aspects. The company provided no new release date and declined to comment further on the situation.

This week, some online users speculated that the business had run into political difficulties.

The game’s official account on Weibo, a Chinese platform similar to Twitter, reportedly made a comment in May asking “why does the bear still not step down,” according to screenshots shared by users on Twitter.

Critics saw the reported post as perhaps referring to Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has been likened to the cartoon character Winnie the Pooh.

The legitimacy of the screenshots could not be immediately confirmed by CNN Business. NetEase declined to respond to questions about the situation and pointed CNN Business to its initial statement.

Clever Chinese internet users frequently compare Pooh to Xi, saying that the two bear an eerie similarity, angering the country’s censors in the process.

Diablo Immortal’s Weibo user posted a notification stating that posting was presently prohibited due to a “violation of relevant laws and regulations.” An inquiry for more details received no immediate response from Weibo.

On Chinese social media, some individuals made the claim that the game’s makers may have “insulted” China.

The National Press and Publication Administration, China’s media watchdog, had given approval for the release of “Diablo Immortal,” a multiplayer game that lets players combat demons in an ancient world.

As of June 10, creators said on the game’s official Twitter account that the game had acquired 10 million installations prior to its release in China.

Investors were concerned by the delayed China launch news. Following the announcement on Monday, NetEase stock fell 7.8% in New York and 6.7% in Hong Kong before recovering the following day. On Tuesday, its shares increased 1.2 percent in Hong Kong, but they last decreased % in premarket trading in the US.

Chinese officials have clamped down on computer games in recent months, and this summer they imposed tight time restrictions for children. Users under the age of 18 were only permitted an hour of play time between 8 and 9 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and public holidays, according to those guidelines.

State-owned media in the nation attacked games that were well-liked by young people, saying that they were having negative impacts on users and characterising gaming as a type of “spiritual opium.”

Officials told NetEase and another Chinese behemoth Tencent (TCEHY) last September to concentrate more on preventing any potential “addictions” to their games and less on maximising profits. NetEase is a leader in the industry in China.

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