‘Diablo Immortal’ reportedly delayed in China over ‘Winnie The Pooh’ post

A controversial social media post comparing Chinese president Xi Jinping to Winnie The Pooh reportedly caused a month-long delay

The month-long delay of Diablo Immortal in China was allegedly caused by a controversial social media post comparing Chinese president Xi Jinping to Winnie The Pooh, a report claims.

Back in June, it was reported that the launch of Diablo Immortal in China was delayed indefinitely while regional publisher NetEase made “a number of optimisations to the game”.

Diablo Immortal is now set to launch in China on July 25, however, Bloomberg has alleged that the month-long delay was actually caused by a now-deleted social media post which was viewed as comparing president Jinping with Winnie The Pooh. Winnie The Pooh has been banned in China since 2017, due to comparisons between the bear and the Chinese presidents being viewed as state criticism by the government.

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According to Bloomberg, NetEase’s account on Weibo – a popular social media channel in China – was banned due to “violating relevant laws and regulations”, presumably in relation to the Winnie The Pooh post.

Diablo Immortal. Credit: Blizzard Entertainment.
Diablo Immortal. Credit: Blizzard Entertainment.

In a Reddit thread (via Massively Overpowered), a Diablo fan shared the social media post in question, and said it was unclear whether the employee had forgotten to change accounts before making the post or if it had been intentional.

Missing out on sales in China has not stopped Diablo Immortal from becoming the “biggest launch” in the Diablo series, as the game made £19.2million in its first two weeks alone.

However, the financial success of Diablo Immortal is at odds with the significant levels of criticism aimed at the free-to-play game’s “predatory” microtransactions, which players say are both overbearing and expensive.

While Diablo Immortal is Blizzard’s lowest user-rated game of all time, the company’s president – Mike Ybarra – has defended the game’s microtransactions.

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In other gaming news, Build 42 of Project Zomboid will focus on fleshing out “extended survival” in the game, and will deliver animals and an RPG-style crafting revamp.

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