One of the biggest tech companies in China is publishing the next game from Destiny and Halo developer Bungie. The studio posted a blog today that announced the deal with NetEase, which is an internet conglomerate in China with a similar gaming business to Tencent. Bungie didn’t provide many specifics about the new project, but it did say that this is part of its desire to grow as an entertainment company that can launch and support “many worlds simultaneously.”
Bungie’s next project doesn’t have a name or a release date, but the studio did say that this doesn’t affect Destiny. In its own announcement, NetEase confirmed that it has acquired a minority stake in Bungie as part of this deal.
“We’re excited to announce that we’ve entered into a new partnership with NetEase to help us explore new directions,” reads the Bungie blog. “With their industry expertise, they’ll empower us to build new worlds and invite players, new and old, to join us there. They’ll help us support separate teams inside Bungie to bring our newest ambitions to life.”
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.”
Updated at 2:15 p.m. Pacific time with details of NetEase’s minority acquisition in Bungie.