NetEase stocks plunge on delayed China release of new game

Shares in Chinese gaming giant NetEase plummeted on Monday after the firm indefinitely postponed the China release of blockbuster title Diablo Immortal.

Gamers in the country have been hotly anticipating their chance to play the game, which was released in Western countries at the start of the month.

But co-developer Activision Blizzard said the planned June 23 launch date had been postponed pending “a number of adjustments for optimisation to the game”.

NetEase stocks slumped more than 10 percent in Hong Kong on Monday, driving them to their lowest point since September. The benchmark Hang Seng Index was slightly up.

In a statement on Sunday, Activision Blizzard said it had postponed the launch while developers worked on tweaks including support across more devices, high-quality rendering and performance optimisations.

“We believe that the gaming experience in the version officially released will be smoother, and we’ll bring better game content to everyone,” the company said.

While NetEase and Activision Blizzard have delayed the launch in other Asian markets until July 8, no new release date has been given for mainland China, Bloomberg News reported.

Earlier this month, Beijing approved the release of 60 games, the second tranche of new titles to get the go-ahead in the world’s biggest gaming market this year.

The announcements have raised hopes that a protracted and painful crackdown on the country’s gaming sector may be coming to an end.

As part of a wider campaign against tech firms, Beijing last year capped gaming time for children and froze new game approvals for nine months, hammering the bottom lines of many companies including Tencent. — Agence France-Presse

UK to host world’s first AI summit: PM Sunak

Britain will host the world’s first summit on artificial intelligence later this year, in a bid to broker a common approach by countries to limit the technology’s potential doomsday risks while harnessing its potential, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Wednesday.