Blizzard may have canceled a 'World of Warcraft' mobile spinoff (updated)

The project had been in the works for three years.

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Visitors play ''World of Warcraft'' at an exhibition stand during the Gamescom 2011 fair in Cologne August 17, 2011. The Gamescom convention, Europe's largest video games trade fair, runs from August 17 to August 21.   REUTERS/Ina Fassbender (GERMANY - Tags: BUSINESS SOCIETY)
REUTERS/Ina Fassbender

Arclight Rumble wasn't going to be the only upcoming Warcraft mobile game, according to a report. Bloomberg sources claim Blizzard and NetEase have canceled a World of Warcraft spinoff mobile title that had been in development for three years. Nicknamed Neptune, it would have been a massively multiplayer game set in a different era of the fantasy universe. It wouldn't simply have been a WoW phone port, to put it another way.

While the exact reasons for the cancelation weren't mentioned, one of the insiders said Blizzard and NetEase "disagreed over terms" and ultimately decided to scrap the unannounced game. NetEase supposedly had over 100 developers attached to the project. The two were rumored to have previously canceled another Warcraft mobile release, a Pokémon Go-style augmented reality game, after four years of effort.

Spokespeople from both companies declined to comment. If the rumor is accurate, it suggests Blizzard is struggling to adapt to the rise of mobile gaming. While Diablo Immortal appears to be a success and is joining the well-established Hearthstone, the developers will still have sunk massive resources into other games that never reached players.

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There are strong incentives to take these risks, however. Mobile games can be highly lucrative, particularly in countries like China — Genshin Impact has pulled in $3 billion since release, according to Sensor Tower estimates. A hit could easily boost Blizzard's bottom line, not to mention spur demand for its existing computer- and console-bound games.

Update 8/5 9:49AM ET: Spokesperson Andrew Reynolds told Engadget that Blizzard still has an "extremely successful relationship" with NetEase, and said it was "entirely untrue" that there were any financial disagreements between the two companies. There was no mention of the spinoff or its current status.

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