Bungie Partners With NetEase
Bungie has formed a partnership with NetEase following a $100 million investment by the Chinese online gaming company, the studio announced today.
“We’re excited to announce that we’ve entered into a new partnership with NetEase to help us explore new directions,” Bungie said in a blog post. “With their industry expertise, they’ll empower us to build new worlds and invite players, new and old, to join us there.”
NetEase’s investment buys them a minority stake in the Destiny studio, as well as a seat on its board of directors. Neither party has suggested that a specific game or IP yet exists for their partnership to launch, but finding and developing one seems to be the plan. NetEase’s ability to help Bungie access the huge Chinese market – much as they already do with Blizzard – will surely have appealed.
NetEase chief executive officer William Ding explained that it is making this investment because he believes that Bungie can create a leap forward in creative and innovative gameplay.
“We have been big fans of the worlds Bungie has created and are drawn to Bungie’s passion and creativity in online games development,” said Ding. “Bungie and NetEase share the same vision and ambition to deliver incredible experiences to millions of players all around the globe. We are excited to partner with Bungie as they transform from a single franchise development team into a global, multi-franchise entertainment studio.”
This is part of NetEase’s overall strategy of “incubating” content and gameplay ideas from game studios around the world. That’s a strategy that Tencent has recently adopted as well.
Like Tencent, NetEase has grown along with China’s economy. It has created many games for that market and brought in foreign games from publishers like Blizzard. NetEase operates World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, and Overwatch in the Chinese mainland. But it has also seen massive growth from its own PC-based online multiplayer games like Fantasy Westward Journey II and New Westward Journey Online II. And it has expanded into mobile with similar success.
By working with NetEase, Bungie will have a well-funded publisher, but it will also have access to China, which is the biggest gaming market in the world. Meanwhile, NetEase has looked to expand into Western regions, and it could do that on the back of the new Western-developed intellectual property from the makers of Halo.
But I can already hear you Destiny fans growing anxious. Bungie claims that this isn’t a harbinger of the end for that sci-fi shooting franchise.
“If you’re a player of Destiny, this news won’t impact the hobby you’ve come to know,” reads the blog. “Destiny is an experience that will grow for many years to come. We’ll continue to work with our partners at Activision to foster this global community and turn new players from all over the world into Guardians. Our commitment to that world is not diminished by this announcement. We have exciting plans for the future of the Destiny franchise, and you’ll learn more about the next steps we’ll take together in the weeks to come.”
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