NetEase Sets Up Studio in Japan for Next-Gen Console Game Development

NetEase Games announced the establishment of “Sakura Studio” in Tokyo, Japan (Source: NetEase Games)

Chinese gaming company NetEase has on Friday established a new game development team dedicated to console games in Tokyo, as the company seeks to boost revenue growth and expand its influence in the Japanese market, game media GameLook reported.

Named “Ouka Studio,” the studio is the first team in NetEase to focus entirely on console game development. A Japanese studio director with rich experience in producing console games will lead members of the group, the company said.

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The company said it intends to combine the years of experience it has in developing PC and mobile games with Japanese development methods to create games with more layers and richer content. “NetEase Games is hoping to integrate technology and manufacturing advantages to provide game lovers a brand new gaming experience like never before,” the company said in a Facebook post.

The new studio is currently in a very early stage. The recruitment section of its website shows job openings for a series of positions, including directors, artists, designers, engineers, and graphic engineers.

Due to its high average player spending on mobile games, Japan has become a significant overseas market for NetEase in the last two years. The company’s battle royale title Knives Out and survival horror game Identity V, for instance, have been two of the highest-grossing games in the market for the past few quarters. The company’s first quarter results also showed “notable increases in active user numbers” for the two titles.

“Encouraged by our success in overseas markets such as Japan, we are more confident and committed than ever to extending our reach internationally,” the company said in its earnings results for the first quarter of 2020.

Earlier this week, NetEase raised around $2.7 billion in a secondary listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg.

NetEase is not the only major Chinese game publisher eyeing expansion in the Japanese market. In January, gaming behemoth Tencent invested in Japanese developer Platinum Games, which is known for action titles such as Nier: Automata and Bayonetta.

In May, Tencent ramped up its efforts to advance in the Japanese market with a plan to spend around 7 billion yen ($65 million) to acquire a 20% stake in Japanese game developer and publisher Marvelous, known for farming simulation game Story of Seasons.