NetEase Games acquires minority stake in Detroit, Heavy Rain developer

NetEase Games might not be a household name to many but the Chinese electronics giant has had a hand in various successful gaming ventures as well as being one of China’s largest internet companies. But today, it made moves toward working with a big European developer. NetEase Games announced that it has acquired a minority stake in French developer Quantic Dream “to further the development and distribution of global online games.”

Quantic Dream, despite the move, will continue to operate independently. Instead, this deal is meant to “to support the studio’s vision of becoming a global, multi-franchise entertainment company, and to develop advanced technologies and games for the future.” VP of NetEase, Ethan Wang, released a statement on the deal.

“With a strong focus on in-house development, we are constantly looking for partners that complement us in the development and creation of the next generation games,” he said. “Quantic Dream’s excellence in interactive storytelling and the valuable expertise it has built over the past two decades is exactly what we have been looking for. We are pleased to partner with Quantic Dream and we hope to create incredible game experiences for players all around the globe.”

Quantic Dream CEO David Cage was similarly vague and positive.

“The landscape of the gaming industry will go through major evolutions in the coming years, with new hardware to come, new business models to explore and new ways of playing to invent,” said Cage. “We want Quantic Dream to take a key role in this exciting future and having NetEase by our side as a strategic partner will allow us to expand our creative vision and develop the company to its fullest potential. NetEase understands what Quantic is about as they share our passion for high quality games and our ambitions for the studio.”

No actual details were given about whatever the two companies plan to produce together. However, it points to using more advanced technology in one way or another. Quantic Dream has had made efforts in the past to keep pushing technological limits, which is why the team makes so many of those test videos. Cage even said as much during the PS4 reveal event as technology “is what we rely on to get the player emotionally involved.”

While Quantic Dream’s last three games have been PlayStation exclusives, the studio isn’t actually owned by Sony. Quantic Dream has kept its independence despite Sony publishing its last three games: Heavy Rain, Beyond Two Souls, and Detroit: Become Human.

But this deal could possibly mark the team’s slight, if temporary, move away from the PlayStation family. Cage told French website Les Numériques in October 2018 that while the team has “a contract game by game with Sony” and has “many desires and plans for the future” (via Google Translate).

Quantic Dream built itself on the reputation of its successful narrative-heavy games while NetEase Games gained notoriety operating many of Blizzard’s games in China as well as developing some mobile titles including the upcoming Diablo Immortal. The mega company also invested in Bungie in June 2018 to help “sustain Destiny” as well as hinting at a new IP. The press release for the Quantic Dream deal contained fewer hints so it’s unknown how each’s strengths will mix with each other. NetEase is known for its online, PC, and mobile content; three areas that Quantic Dream is, on the other hand, not known for.