Diablo Immortal was supposed to launch in China this week. However, publisher and the game’s co-developer NetEase has postponed the release, making its shares plunge as a result.
NetEase and Blizzard announced the postponement on June 19, saying that the development team is now making some optimization adjustments. To compensate players for the delay, the Chinese tech giant will also give them special reward packages at launch.
On top of that, the official Diablo Immortal account on Weibo was blocked from posting last week for “violating relevant laws and regulations, as reported by South China Morning Post. It is still unclear what type of content could have violated the terms.
Soon after the delay, NetEase shares decreased by over 10% on Monday to around $17.32. At the time of writing, the stock grew to $17.96 per share, which is still lower than Friday’s price of $19.24.
“This is more specific to NetEase,” Union Bancaire Privée senior analyst Vey-Sern Ling told Bloomberg. “Maybe the market is worried that this is a larger issue with the regulators.”
The Chinese games industry is still recovering from the almost nine-month licensing freeze. Earlier this month, the National Press and Public Administration (NPPA) approved 60 more new games. However, local giants like Tencent and NetEase haven’t received a license yet.
Diablo Immortal generated around $14.5 million on iOS and Android in the first week since its global launch on June 2. The game’s mobile revenue has reportedly reached over $30 million to date (via AppMagic).