SHANGHAI, April 21, 2014 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. and NetEase, Inc. today announced an agreement to license Blizzard Entertainment’s Heroes of the Storm™ to a NetEase, Inc. affiliate in mainland China for a term of three years.
Unveiled last November at BlizzCon®, Heroes of the Storm is Blizzard’s upcoming free-to-play, online team brawler featuring iconic heroes from more than 20 years of Blizzard gaming history. Gamers will be able to play some of their favorite characters from the Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo® universes, and team up with friends to battle other teams online. Heroes of the Storm features a variety of battlegrounds with multiple objectives that affect strategy in unique ways. In addition, players will be able to customize their heroes with a variety of skins, as well as special mounts that help them cover ground on the battlefield more quickly.
Heroes of the Storm will be the fourth Blizzard game brought to China by both companies since 2008. Currently, Blizzard and NetEase collaborate to bring World of Warcraft®, StarCraft® II, and Hearthstone™: Heroes of Warcraft™, and the Battle.net® gaming platform to millions of Chinese gamers. Today’s announcement further strengthens the partnership between Blizzard and NetEase, and reinforces both companies’ commitment to providing epic game experiences and top-quality service for all Blizzard gamers in mainland China.
“Heroes of the Storm offers our unique spin on a popular online game genre, with iconic Blizzard heroes and multiple unique battlegrounds that affect strategy and gameplay,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “We’re pleased to expand our partnership with NetEase to bring this game to Chinese players.”
“We are very excited to be presenting another hotly-anticipated Blizzard game to Chinese players,” said William Ding, CEO and founder of NetEase, Inc. He added, “We believe Chinese gamers will enjoy the amazing content and quality of Heroes of the Storm and its focus on team battles. We’re working closely with Blizzard to prepare everything needed for launching Heroes of the Storm in China, and we look forward to providing players with the best possible service.”
The official website in China for Heroes of the Storm (www.heroesofthestorm.com.cn) is now live. Registration for Heroes of the Storm closed beta testing is now available for Chinese gamers via the website. Details on closed beta testing, including the start date, will be announced later.
To learn more about the Heroes of the Storm, please visit the Chinese official website: www.heroesofthestorm.com.cn. Further details about the game will be announced as development progresses.
About Blizzard Entertainment
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.
About NetEase, Inc.
NetEase, Inc. (NASDAQ: NTES) is a leading Internet technology company in China. Dedicated to providing online services centered around content, community, communication and commerce, NetEase develops and operates some of China’s most popular online games, e-mail services, advertising services and web portals. In partnership with Blizzard Entertainment, NetEase also operates one of the most popular international online games in China, World of Warcraft®, as well as StarCraft® II and Hearthstone™: Heroes of Warcraft™.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements: Information in this press release that involves Blizzard Entertainment’s and NetEase’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 and NetEase generally use 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 and/or NetEase’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 generally, the popularity of Heroes of the Storm among Chinese players and the effect of future expansion sets on the game, shifts in consumer spending trends, the impact of the current macroeconomic environment, the seasonal and cyclical nature of the interactive game market, the risk that Shanghai EaseNet will not be able to operate Heroes of the Storm, StarCraft II, World of Warcraft or other games licensed by it from Blizzard Entertainment for a period of time or permanently due to possible governmental actions, the risk that Shanghai EaseNet or NetEase will be subject to penalties or operating restrictions imposed by governmental authorities in the PRC resulting from the operations of their online games, including suspension of their Internet service or other penalties, the risk that changes in Chinese government regulation of the online game market may limit future growth of Blizzard’s or NetEase’s revenue in China or cause revenue to decline; 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 and/or NetEase, 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 and of NetEase’s most recent annual report on Form 20-F and other filings and submissions with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements in this release are based upon information available to Blizzard Entertainment, Activision Blizzard and NetEase, as the case may be, as of the date of this release, and none of such parties 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, Activision Blizzard or NetEase and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of which are beyond their respective control and may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations.
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SOURCE NetEase, Inc.