Activision Blizzard scrapped an MMO (massively multiplayer online) mobile game based on the World of Warcraft universe due to a financial dispute with its partner NetEase, a Chinese game development company.
Speaking to Bloomberg on condition of anonymity, a source revealed how both Activision Blizzard and NetEase disagreed with the terms, ultimately halting production of the mobile title. Codenamed Jupiter, the game had been in development for over three years.
Project Jupiter was meant to be an MMORPG in the same universe as World of Warcraft, albeit in a different time period. When asked for comment, both NetEase and Activision Blizzard declined to comment.
Activision Blizzard’s foray into the mobile market is relatively new: despite the success of Hearthstone, a mobile card game that achieved major milestones in player numbers and revenue, other attempts to break into mobile gaming failed. Another Warcraft mobile game, which was inspired by Pokemon Go and codenamed Orbis, was canceled after a four-year development period.
Its most recent attempt, which was announced in May, will see a release later this year. Called Warcraft Arclight Rumble, the game features gameplay similar to Clash Royale, where players place units strategically as they march into enemy territory.
World of Warcraft was released in China under the supervision of NetEase, being the sole distributor of the game since its launch in 2009. However, as a result of the Jupiter project being scrapped, NetEase laid off over 100 employees. Only a handful will be moving internally to other projects, with some likely heading to work on World of Warcraft’s next expansion, Dragonflight.
This is another bump in the road for Activision Blizzard, which is awaiting the fate of its massive Microsoft buyout deal. The deal is so big that rival company Sony sees no way to compete with its flagship Call of Duty title. However, despite these claims, Call of Duty is seeing a steep decline in users: the series has lost more than 30 million users in the last year.
Original Bloomberg report.
Written by Junior Miyai on behalf of GLHF.