Activision Blizzard scrapped a mobile MMO (massively multiplayer online) game based in the World of Warcraft universe over a financial dispute with partner NetEase, a Chinese game development company.
Speaking to Bloomberg on condition of anonymity, an insider revealed how both Activision Blizzard and NetEase disagreed over terms, eventually halting production on the mobile title. Codenamed Jupiter, the game had been in development for over three years.
Project Jupiter was intended to be an MMORPG in the same universe as World of Warcraft, albeit in a different time period. When reached for comments, both NetEase and Activision Blizzard declined to comment.
Activision Blizzard’s foray into the mobile market is relatively new — despite success with Hearthstone, a mobile card battler that achieved huge milestones in player count and revenue earned, other attempts at breaking into mobile games fell flat. Another Warcraft mobile game, which drew inspiration from Pokemon Go and was codenamed Orbis, was canceled after a four-year development period.
Their most recent attempt, which was announced in May, will see a release sometime later this year. Named Warcraft Arclight Rumble, the game features gameplay similar to Clash Royale, where players place units strategically as they march on enemy territory.
World of Warcraft was released in China under NetEase’s watch, being the sole distributor of the game since its launch in 2009. However, as a result of project Jupiter being scrapped, NetEase laid off more than 100 employees. Only a handful will be internally shifted to other projects, with some likely heading over to work on the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion, Dragonflight.
This is yet another bump in the road for Activision Blizzard, which is awaiting the fate of its massive Microsoft buyout deal. The deal is so huge that rival company Sony sees no way to compete with its flagship title Call of Duty. Despite these claims, however, Call of Duty is seeing a sharp decline in users — the series has lost over 30 million users in the past year.
Original reporting by Bloomberg.
Written by Junior Miyai on behalf of GLHF.