NetEase, a leading Chinese internet and game services provider, announced on January 6 that its games division had acquired SkyBox Labs, a Canada-based game studio.
Founded in 2011, SkyBox Labs has developed titles alongside some of the world’s top publishers including Xbox Game Studios, Wizards of the Coast, and Electronic Arts. Over the last decade, it has worked on games such as Halo Infinite, Minecraft, and Fallout 76.
SkyBox Labs will continue to operate independently within NetEase Games and under the leadership of its three co-founders, Shyang Kong, Derek MacNeil and Steven Silvester, providing a full range of game development services to current and future partners.
NetEase will support the studio with resources and execution capabilities so that SkyBox Labs can achieve faster scale while maintaining the quality of work the studio is known for. SkyBox Labs will continue to grow, retain staff and hire new employees in Canada across all disciplines of game development, including art, engineering, design, production, and QA.
Last August, NetEase Games acquired French game developer Quantic Dream, which became its first studio in Europe. In 2022, NetEase Games opened game studios Nagoshi Studio in Japan and Jackalope Games in the United States, and invested in Bungie and Behavior Interactive. A few days after NetEase opened its US studio, Tencent announced that it would open a studio in Liverpool, UK. miHoYo also opened a studio in Montreal last year and announced plans to create a new triple-A shooting game.
In a meeting after NetEase announced its financial report of Q1 2022, firm founder Ding Lei said, “NetEase‘s overseas revenue accounts for more than 10% at present, and we hope the overseas market can account for 40% to 50% in the future.” Although Ding had mentioned the acceleration of the firm’s overseas game business many times during previous earnings conference, this was the first time proposing such specific quantitative indicators.
In a conference call half a year later, Ding proposed that NetEase Games should launch its self-developed games, such as “Identity V” and “Knives Out” in the global market, and invest in overseas game studios. However, according to the overseas revenue list in the first half of last year published by data.ai, NetEase only ranked sixth, lower than Tencent and miHoYo, and even ranked behind FunPlus, Lilith Games and 37 Interactive Entertainment.