NetEase lays off staffers who were working on Blizzard games in China


Lest we forget, the falling out between NetEase and Blizzard has a toll greater than either company’s bottom line; it also saw a human toll paid as the Chinese giant disbanded the small team working on the titles for the country, though that sweep of layoffs still affected just under 100 employees.

According to insider sources, the layoffs affected “most staff” at NetEase affiliate Shanghai EaseNet Network Technology, while a “small number” of technical staff were transferred to other teams in Shanghai. The affiliate still has around 10 members who are staying behind to handle the logistics surrounding the suspension of affected titles, but their job is likely to last only around six months.

The team’s slow death had already begun in November, as sources say that most employees left when it became clear that the deal between NetEase and Blizzard was done for. Still, this does mark another facet to our pick for 2022’s Biggest MMO Blunder award and seems to put the kibosh on any latent hopes that the two companies could come to some arrangement. We hope those affected can find new jobs soon.

Activision-Blizzard is considered a controversial gaming company owing to a long string of scandals over the last few years, including the Blitzchung boycott, mass layoffs, labor disputes, and executive pay fiasco. In 2021, the company was sued by California for fostering a work environment rife with sexual harassment and discrimination, the disastrous corporate response to which compounded Blizzard’s ongoing pipeline issues and the widespread perception that its online games are in decline. Multiple state and federal agencies are investigating the company as employees unionize¬†and call for Bobby Kotick’s resignation. As of 2023, the company is being acquired by no less than Microsoft.
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