Like Call of Duty and Diablo, World of Warcraft is meant to be a major license as part of Activision Blizzard’s brand expansion on iOS and Android. Blizzard recently announced the Warcraft strategy game Arclight Rumble, but events took a turn for the worse for two other unannounced projects. The first is an MMO that Blizzard had entrusted to a team of more than 100 people at NetEase Games, a long-time partner already responsible for the distribution of World of Warcraft and other Blizzard games in China, but also of the recent Diablo Immortal.
In development for three years, this project codenamed Neptune is now on hold due to an economic disagreement between the American giant and its Chinese counterpart, whose relationship is nevertheless fundamental since the latter has offered a gateway to Blizzard games on the Chinese market for many years . According to information from Bloomberg, this title was not a simple port of World of Warcraft on mobile but a brand new MMO taking place in the same universe at a different time.
“Activision Blizzard’s foray into mobile gaming was one of the driving factors behind Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of the US video game giant, which has been the subject of sexism allegations“, recalls Bloomberg. We know in particular that a mobile version of Call of Duty: Warzone is in development at Activision studios, and the announcement of an Overwatch on iOS / Android also seems to be only a matter of time. Despite numerous criticisms of its economic model, Diablo Immortal has already collected tens of millions of dollars.
Regarding World of Warcraft, however, things look more delicate. In addition to the cancellation of NetEase Games’ MMO, Blizzard has also dropped another Pokémon GO-inspired mobile Warcraft game, codenamed Orbis, which had been in production for more than four years, again according to Bloomberg. The cancellation of these projects comes amid the decline of the World of Warcraft franchise, as seen in Activision Blizzard’s recent financial results. The releases of World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Classic (September 26) and World of Warcraft: Dragonflight (2022), however, will revitalize the license in the coming months.