NetEase Games Acquires Minority Stake in 'Detroit: Become Human' Studio Quantic Dream

Courtesy of Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC
'Detroit: Become Human'

The Chinese company will work with the French game studio to develop online games for the future, new franchises and help them spread into Asian markets.

NetEase Games, the online games division of Chinese tech giant NetEase Inc., has acquired a minority stake in Paris-based video game developer Quantic Dream, the companies revealed Tuesday. Financial figures for the deal were not disclosed.

The French studio will continue to operate independently under the direction of co-founders David Cage and Guillaume de Fondaumiere.

"Guillaume de Fondaumiere and I have been thinking for some time now about ways for the studio to evolve in order to take full advantage of its potential," Cage told The Hollywood Reporter. "We foresaw some major changes in the industry in the coming years, with new platforms, new business models and new players."

Quantic Dream's latest game, Detroit: Become Human, was a financial success last year, selling over 2 million copies, making it one of the best-selling exclusive titles in the PlayStation 4's history.

Last June, NetEase made a $100 million investment in Bungie, the makers of the Destiny series (since then, Bungie has split from its longtime partner Activision and now retains the rights to that franchise exclusively), and Cage said that investment was something he and his company looked at when they were approached by NetEase. "We felt that they had a very unique approach in the way they selected high profile studios such as Bungie and Second Dinner and pursued investments with the aim to enable them to realize their vision."

That vision includes developing multiple franchises and also developing online games and advanced technology for the future. Quantic Dream is widely known as developers of single-player, story-driven games — such as the aforementioned Detroit and 2010's Heavy Rain — but Cage said they are willing to branch out.

"Quantic Dream has always been about creating original experiences and exploring new paradigms. We developed our own approach to interactive storytelling through our games, focusing on emotion and meaning, but we are open to work in any genre, as long as we believe we can create something original and exciting," Cage said.

Amid reports and rumors of multiple high-profile tech companies working on subscription-based game streaming services, Cage said he sees the potential. "We could see that Netflix changed the way people watch television, and there is a good chance that Cloud Play will play a similar role in the game space," he said. "In my mind, there is no question about whether this change is going to happen, but only when."

"There will definitely be a lot of competition between different platforms, which brings two pieces of good news: the first one is for players, which means that they will have many options to choose from, and that hopefully the price of games will benefit from the competition," Cage continued. "The second good news is for developers: it means that content is going to be king, maybe even more than before, and that there will also be a competition to sign the best studios and the best projects between all platforms."