Diablo Immortala free-to-play video game developed and distributed by Blizzard Entertainment, continues to encounter negative reactions, this time from the China. One scandal exploded on the social Weibo it would in fact have convinced the Chinese co-developer and distributor of the title, NetEase, to postpone the launch of the product with just three days’ notice.
Diablo Immortal displeases China because of Winnie the Pooh
According to what reported by Reuters, not only NetEase abruptly suspended the launch operation, but the video game would have been hit by a real governmental censorshipwith the Weibo channel of the title that has even been deprived of the right to post new content, a draconian solution that would be conditioned by propaganda motivations.
Officially, the company justified the maneuver with the desire to introduce “multiple optimization adjustments”, however it is difficult to believe that the brand has decided to make such a risky move towards a product that has already catalysed the contempt for a large part of the West. Especially since this sacrifice resulted in a 10% drop in NetEase’s value on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
A possible explanation therefore comes from the Financial Times, which suggests that the backlash suffered by Diablo Immortal in China is directly linked to the suspension suffered on Weibo and that this is intimately linked to a post that went viral in which mention was made of Winnie the Pooh born from the mind of AA Milne.
According to the reconstructions of the US newspaper, the content in question depicted a game screenshot with the question “why the bear has not yet resigned”. Considering the political climate of the place, the bear in question would be Pooh, fantastic character who has been used for years to mock President Xi Jinpingwhich in turn led to the censorship of any representation and reference to the famous animated subject.
To reinforce this reading, it should also be emphasized that the most recent NetEase press releases announced the postponement of the launch to July 8, but that this schedule takes into account the Taiwan time zone, a peculiarity that tacitly recognizes the status of a nation to the island that is strongly denied by Beijing. Understandably, NetEase did not want to explicitly comment on the situation, however everything suggests that Diablo Immortal is now also becoming a reason for political confrontation.