World Of Warcraft Mobile Game Canceled After Dispute Between Blizzard And NetEase

A World of Warcraft mobile game developed by Blizzard and NetEase has reportedly been canceled after a financial dispute. Here are all the details we know so far.

Wolrd Of Warcraft Cancelled Game
Blizzard and NetEase have unfortunately canceled a World of Warcraft mobile game... | © Blizzard

Blizzard Entertainment and its Chinese publishing partner, NetEase, have reportedly canceled the mobile version of World of Warcraft over a financial dispute. Codenamed "Neptune", the unannounced project between these two games publishers had secretly been in development for the past three years.

Neptune was developed with the intention of being an off-shoot mobile game based on Blizzard's ever-popular MMORPG game, World of Warcraft. There isn't a wealth of details concerning the game's content however it is believed to be set in the Warcraft universe, but at a different time than the source game.

The cancellation of this large project comes as a surprise as Blizzard has long had its eyes set on entering the mobile gaming market with a bang. In 2021, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick mentioned that:

Multiple mobile free-to-play Warcraft experiences [are] now in advanced development. [They will] create opportunities for existing players and new fans to experience the Warcraft universe in entirely new ways.

At the forefront of these multiple games is Warcraft Arclight Rumble, a free-to-play mobile action strategy game also set in the Warcraft universe that aims to emulate the success of Supercell's Clash Royale. Neptune was set to co-headline the extensive list of mobile games alongside Warcraft Arclight Rumble. However, that doesn't seem possible now.

A source close to the project stated that NetEase has already disbanded the more than 100-strong developer team charged with fleshing out Neptune's content. At the heart of the problem is this financial dispute. We know very little about the specifics, but some believe this may be related to Blizzard's recent quarterly earnings report that saw drops in revenue and income.

It should be mentioned that Blizzard and NetEase have been close partners since 2008. Most recently, they collaborated on a mobile game based on Blizzard's Diablo series that culminated in the infamous title, Diablo Immortal.

NetEase has also published other popular Blizzard titles in China, such as Hearthstone and World of Warcraft. It is unlikely that we will see a complete cessation of collaboration between these two companies; with the huge amounts of money Diablo Immortal is making, we don't think this particular financial dispute has enough to derail that cashcow.