Blizzard and NetEase broke up, what should they do?
”When I woke up, “Overwatch: Return” turned into “Overwatch: Return to the West.” After seeing the statement issued by Blizzard, Kaka said with emotion.
Kaka is a game anchor at station B, and his main live broadcast content is to play Blizzard’s games “Overwatch: Return” and “Hearthstone”. As a Blizzard gamer, Kaka still has a lot of good feelings for Blizzard.
However, despite the reputation of “Watching Pioneer”, after repeated failed balance adjustments, its game experience has not been as good as before, and player retention has plummeted.
What is Blizzard’s opinion now?
As a game company, its frequent news in the past two years is personnel changes and workplace scandals. And the news related to its games is either an announcement of bounced tickets or bad reviews-for example, “Warcraft 3: Reforged Edition”, which was rated 0.5 points (out of 10 points) by players on the well-known game rating website Metacritic.
In addition, Blizzard’s “bad reviews” over the years include but are not limited to: completely ignoring the needs of basic game players and forcibly entering the mobile game market; after the “World of Warcraft” version is updated, the equipment drop rate drops, and the mission gameplay is boring and time-consuming It is laborious; the version of “Hearthstone” is updated too quickly, and the time and money cost of building a new deck after each update is too high to dissuade new players and low-krypton players; “Overwatch” has a broken balance and various bugs Seriously affect the player’s game experience; “Heroes of the Storm” puts too much emphasis on teamwork, and the single-player game experience is not good…
However, even though Blizzard’s operations over the years have caused many players to “turn fans” and “fans to black”, as a Veteran in the industry, the number of players accumulated over the years is still considerable. According to Blizzard’s recently released third-quarter financial report data, the MAU of Blizzard’s games in this quarter is about 31 million, a year-on-year increase of 19%, and a quarter-on-quarter increase of 15%. It can be seen that Blizzard’s game products still have many fans.
“Warcraft 3: Reforged” player rating recently rose to 0.6
This huge fan base has brought Blizzard not only player turnover, but also the birth of its game ecology in the mainland market, and has also created various jobs-such as practitioners of e-sports events, contestants, game PUGC producers, as well as game anchors like Kaka, and as Blizzard will suspend domestic game services, the blow to this group of people will undoubtedly be huge.
”My main broadcast content is Blizzard games, and what my fans want to watch is also Blizzard games. If Blizzard fails to find an agent in the future and completely withdraws from the domestic market, what should I do? Can my fans accept me to broadcast other games? ?” Kaka is full of worries about the future.
Blizzard: Is it so difficult to squeeze the wool of the “pig factory”?
Domestic players and related practitioners who rely on Blizzard games for a living have suffered. So NetEase and Blizzard must have suffered a lot, right?
Ironically, the answer is partly no.
According to the two companies themselves, the breakup does not seem to carry much weight for the two companies.
Although NetEase’s stock price fell by as much as 14% on the 17th after Blizzard issued a statement that it would not renew the contract, this battle seemed to say that NetEase lost the great Buddha of Blizzard, just like losing an arm.
But, is this the truth?
Regardless of black or red, Blizzard’s reputation is unquestionable. However, acting as an agent for Blizzard’s games is actually not a good business.
On the 17th, NetEase also released its financial report for the third quarter of 2022, and disclosed that the games represented by Blizzard will contribute to NetEase’s net income and net profit in 2021 and the first nine months of 2022. number”.
”Most of Blizzard’s games do not have a strong ability to attract money. The revenue of its buyout games is basically crushed by krypton gold mobile games in the current game market, while the krypton gold content of other long-term operating games mainly involves appearance. and accessories, it is difficult to motivate players to spend money.” A player commented.
Netease’s main revenue source is not the agency business, but self-developed game products such as “Fantasy Westward Journey”, “Wild Action” and “The Fifth Personality”, and “benefits from” the consistent value-driven payment of Netease games Model, NetEase’s own game products have long occupied the forefront of the best-selling list in China, and even in some overseas regions represented by Japan, and their ability to attract money is quite considerable. Considering the sluggish status of Blizzard games, NetEase mentioned in the announcement that the income of agent Blizzard games only accounts for single digits, which is very likely to be true.
From this point of view, the loss suffered by NetEase is not large, so what about Blizzard?
Blizzard announced its financial report long before NetEase, claiming that the agency game signed with NetEase will “account for only 3% of Activision Blizzard’s net revenue” in 2021. This seems to be the confidence that Blizzard can easily choose to suspend its cooperation with NetEase.
But in fact, the 3% figure is not that simple. When Blizzard calculates the proportion of Blizzard game revenue in the country represented by NetEase, the denominator is not the total revenue of Blizzard games, but “Activision + Blizzard + King”. The revenue of the entire group, and the businesses of Activision and King have nothing to do with NetEase at all. Therefore, the statement that “NetEase’s agency business only contributed 3% of Blizzard’s game revenue” is biased.
So how much revenue did NetEase actually bring to Blizzard?
After excluding Activision and King’s revenue, we can calculate that NetEase’s agency business contributed about 15% of Blizzard’s revenue. Although this is not an “arm” of Blizzard, it is at least a palm .
Moreover, according to relevant sources, since the operating costs of Blizzard games in China are almost entirely borne by NetEase, Blizzard has paid nothing and earned 15% of the income while lying at home.
From this point of view, in this breakup farce, NetEase is really decent, while Blizzard continues to forcefully smile after stabbing itself.
Change agent? Maybe Netease
In the past 14 years, NetEase’s agency for Blizzard games is not impeccable, but it is also benevolent, and NetEase has also made a lot of contributions to the development of Blizzard’s e-sports games in China. Although Blizzard’s intentions are still unclear, but If they really chose to break up just because their request for a higher share was not accepted, then Blizzard is really a bit dishonest.
According to the relevant policies and regulations of the domestic game market, foreign capital is not allowed to directly participate in game operations. Now that the matter has come to this point, there are only two ways for Blizzard to go. One is to completely abandon the Chinese market, and the other is to find the next agent to take over as soon as possible.
As mentioned above, during the NetEase agency period, Blizzard’s domestic income was almost equal to free money. Therefore, from the perspective of the enterprise, it is unlikely that it will choose to give up this income.
Then the only thing left is to find an agent.
Now, the remaining major channel companies in China, besides NetEase, are the old faces of Tencent, Shengqu, and Perfect World. Starting from the angle, you can add another miha tour. As for these few companies that can be counted with one hand, Tencent is the only one that is better as a channel than NetEase, which is the second-in-command in the domestic game market.
However, for Tencent, its willingness to take over Blizzard may not be very high.
On the one hand, Tencent also recently announced its third-quarter financial report, with game revenue of 42.9 billion yuan, a decrease of about 4.6% from the same period last year. At the moment when rookie challenges are becoming more and more fierce and the game market is in a sea of blood, no matter how rich Tencent is, it must use good steel wisely. The revenue capability of Blizzard games is now obvious to all in the market, and now it represents Blizzard games The wind reviews brought to the channel are likely to be negative.
On the other hand, according to the latest regulations on online game management, for online games that have been pre-approved or imported by the General Administration of Press and Publication, if the operating unit is changed, the pre-approved or import approval procedures must be completed again. During the re-approval period, online games should stop all operational services. Violators will be dealt with as illegal online publications.
On the 17th, Tencent responded that there is no internal information about the agency of Blizzard, and it seems that the possibility of Tencent taking over is very slim.
After going around in circles, Blizzard is very likely to find that apart from NetEase, which has been taken advantage of, no other company is willing to serve its great Buddha.
But Blizzard has already said so absolutely, is it really possible for the two to “renew their relationship”?
There really are. Whether the cooperation between Blizzard and NetEase will really break down, there are still some variables. Among them, the more prominent one is Microsoft, which is busy acquiring Activision Blizzard.
Right now, Microsoft is busy with the antitrust issues involved in the acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Some countries, including Brazil, have approved the acquisition, and the European Union has also announced that the matter has entered the “second stage” of review, although The European Union said that the review will be stricter, but this does not mean that this acquisition has no chance of passing. And if Microsoft succeeds in acquiring Activision Blizzard in the end, given its cooperative relationship with NetEase in the domestic market, Microsoft is likely to prompt Blizzard to change its attitude and shake hands with NetEase again.