China delays Diablo Immortal days before its release

Weibo's official Diablo Immortal Weibo account was suspended less than a week ago, which led to the delay.

Diablo Immortal, which was supposed to be released in China just a few days ago, has somehow been delayed. According to a Reuters report, news of the delay came when the official Diablo Immortal account on Weibo was disabled.

Although the Financial Times report did not detail the reason for the suspension, a post that made critical remarks about 'the bear' seemed to have been interpreted that way.

For years, Pooh Bear has been used to mock or criticize Chinese president Xi Jinping for purported physical similarities, and it's not a secret that it's a big deal for him: A year later, China revoked the business license of the Chinese publisher of Devotion, a horror game with Pooh imagery. The Disney film Christopher Robin was banned in 2018 by China, and a year later it revoked the license of the Chinese publisher.

In addition to the Weibo account of Red Candles, the game was ultimately removed from Steam, and the developer was also banned from Weibo.

Weibo's account suspension and the game delay are not directly connected, but it would be a big coincidence if they weren't connected somehow.

Despite being a co-development of Diablo Immortal with Activision Blizzard, NetEase did not mention the account on the Chinese Diablo Immortal website, just saying it wanted to make 'optimization adjustments' before launch, including adding 'a wider range of devices and models.'.'

In addition to the free-to-play monetization, there is also the aggressive marketing of in-game items that have been criticized by many critics.

The Chinese government has cracked down on free-to-play games in recent years by imposing time limits, streaming restrictions for minors, and pausing approval of new game releases for nearly a year. Free-to-play games are far more common and popular in China than they are in the West.

Considering NetEase is currently in the doghouse over the Winnie the Pooh business, I would imagine it would be reluctant to try its luck with a game perceived by many as predatory.

NetEase hasn't released a new release date for Diablo Immortal in China, but it said in the delay announcement that it will provide an apology package with legendary equipment and materials.

All players will be able to get the package once the game officially launches. I have contacted Activision Blizzard for more information and I will post an update if I receive one.

Thank You!

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