Chinese game publisher NetEase is acquiring Quantic Dream. The deal is reported by VentureBeat and follows up on NetEase’s minority investment in Quantic Dream in 2019.
Founded in 1997, Paris-based developer Quantic Dream is best known for its narrative-driven titles emphasizing story, dialogue, and consequences. Their first game, The Nomad Soul, was released in 1999. They followed up with 2005’s Fahrenheit, helping the developer break into the mainstream audience. Since then, they have had their releases co-published by Sony Computer Entertainment: 2010’s Heavy Rain, 2013’s Beyond: Two Souls, and 2018’s Detroit: Become Human.
The studio, led by David Cage and Guillaume de Fondaumière, has become NetEase’s first developer in Europe.
Cage and Fondaumière spoke with VentureBeat about why they chose to sell to NetEase.
“We had acquisition discussions on several occasions during the past 25 years,” they said, “but as none guaranteed our editorial independence, we decided to pass on these opportunities and continue as an independent studio. Our industry is undergoing a profound mutation through a wave of acquisitions of studios and publishers. For studios, this represents a paradigm shift as our central position in the industry, and our contribution to the value chain are now more correctly valued. Consequently, in the recent past, we received several offers meeting our expectations.”
Quantic Dream will continue to act independently from NetEase. They will remain focused on creating video games on all platforms. This includes the newest Quantic Dream published game, Under the Waves, announced during Gamescom Opening Night Live. They are also working on a story-driven Star Wars game, Star Wars Eclipse, which was revealed last year at The Game Awards 2021.
NetEase, is best known for being the Chinese operator of Blizzard Entertainment games. Most notably, they help operate the Chinese versions of World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, and Overwatch. Most recently, they partnered with Blizzard to help create Diablo Immortal. NetEase commented on the acquisition:
“We are thrilled to embark on an exciting new stage of growth with Quantic Dream, bound by our
shared vision, mutual trust and respect,” said CEO and director of NetEase William Ding in a statement. “NetEase will continue to fulfil our promise to support Quantic Dream to realise its full potential. By combining the wild creativity and exceptional narrative focus of Quantic Dream with NetEase’s powerful facilities, resources and execution capabilities, we believe there are infinite possibilities that could re-define the interactive entertainment experience we provide for players worldwide.”
NetEase was in the news earlier this month when former Resident Evil Producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi joined the company. Kobayashi helped oversee several entries in the Resident Evil franchises and Dragon’s Dogma before leaving the company. His current role at NetEase is unknown and will be revealed at a later date.
Fondaumière elaborated more on the reasoning for choosing NetEase in an email to VentureBeat:
“NetEase’s proposal made a lot of sense to us precisely because they were already a minority shareholder of Quantic Dream since 2019. We had started to work together; we knew the organization and the people working there and had established a mutual trust and respect. We had the opportunity to witness how like-minded we are, sharing the same vision and ambition for the studio. Their initial financing contributed meaningfully to our investments in our infrastructure, in our publishing division as well as in our internally and externally produced titles.”
Fondaumière continues to state that NetEase will help enable Quantic Dream to “pursue our ambitious plans, taking advantage of industrial synergies, while allowing us to remain fully independent in the management of our studio and in our editorial choices.”
The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. It was noted that Quantic Dream was able to grow its worker headcount by 50% in 2021, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.