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Diablo Immortal China Release Delayed, Social Media Pages Banned

Diablo Immortal will not launch this week in China, and the official Chinese social media account on Weibo has been banned from posting. Netease stock takes a hit.

Activision Blizzard’s latest and all-around controversial Diablo Immortal has been delayed indefinitely in China just days before its scheduled June 23 release. This comes just days after the game’s official account was banned from China’s Weibo platform, one of the country’s biggest social media sites.

The official announcement of the delay can be seen here. Via machine translation, the team apologizes for the delay and says they’re making “a number of optimization tweaks,” including supporting more devices, making the game nicer, and various small adjustments. There is no mention of the likely release date. We’d assume that’s still in the near future rather than months away.

Publisher Netease’s share price fell sharply in response to the news, hitting a low of HK$136 and recovering slightly to 141, down 11% from recent highs of around 155. . It’s part of a recent downtrend in a volatile June for the company, which posted highs above 170 this year and 206 in 2021.

On the Weibo side, the Diablo Immortal Official Page was banned “for violating relevant laws and regulations” on Wednesday last week, and is still unable to post. This is similar to a game having its Twitter account, Facebook page, or Discord server deleted in the days leading up to release. Although the account has “only” 47,000 subscribers, this is a significant loss. An explanation was not given.

As explained by South China Morning Post, there are much harsher penalties that Weibo can impose, such as total deletion of pages. Still, that’s not something one would expect, especially for a game clearly designed for the Chinese market – indeed, it’s one of the only times Blizzard has worked with an outside development studio, in this case Netease, to develop something.

According to Reddit user surveys, including here, the whole fiasco may be due to a rogue employee who posted anti-government messages on the Weibo page that read “Why didn’t the bear quit?” – a reference to President Xi Jinping who is often censored. This led to the removal of all posts mentioning the release date and eventually this announcement and the post ban. We’ve reached out to Blizzard for comment.

While controversy has reigned since its release, Diablo Immortal earned an obscene amount of money during its release window, as reported pocket player. It has had over 8 million downloads and generated $24 million in revenue, with 43% coming from the US and 31% combined from Japan and South Korea.

If you’re playing, check out our article on the best starting class in Diablo Immortal.

Written by GL HF.

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