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NetEase delays Diablo Immortal’s China launch, shares tumble -Breaking


© Reuters.

Josh Ye

HONG KONG, (Reuters) – Three days before the official launch of Diablo Immortal in China by Internet and Gaming giant NetEase (NASDAQ) was delayed. This is just three days after Weibo’s official account (NASDAQ) was barred from posting new posts.

China’s NetEase was scheduled to launch the game Thursday. However, it did not give a new date but stated on Sunday that they wanted to make improvements and perform “multiple optimization adjustments”

It was not clear what caused the company’s social media ban. NetEase did not reply to Reuters’ requests for comment.

Diablo Immortal, co-developed last year by NetEase & Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ): is being watched closely to determine Beijing’s attitudes towards China’s $46-billion market for video games. Beijing was hit with sweeping regulatory restrictions in the past year.

Chinese regulators granted the company a gaming licence for the game in February. However, authorities rolled out new rules months later and stopped issuing new licenses for nearly nine months. The nod had garnered attention as the Diablo franchise focuses on slaying demons and witches — themes seen to jar with Chinese regulators’ dislike of games with violent or religious content.

Diablo Immortal had been released in China already on June 2nd. According to App Magic, the game has made more than $24 million since its rollout. It was expected that the China launch would give the title an additional boost since the Asian market will be the biggest.

According to NetEase, the title received pre-registrations of over 15,000,000 users during last week.

On Monday, shares fell more than 9%.