NetEase North America, the San Francisco-based arm of the Chinese technology giant, has announced a new funding initiative for independent developers.
Known as the NetEase Success Fund, the scheme will offer an alternative to traditional publishing by providing up to $500,000 for each accepted developer to fund marketing and advertising.
Furthermore, developers awarded funding will retain the rights, creative control, and full ownership of their products.
In turn, NetEase will receive a revenue share up to a pre-defined sum, but once that cap is reached the developer's financial obligations to NetEase will be over.
But in addition to this, according to details given on NetEase North America's website, "Part of the deal is that we ask for the first right to publish in China."
It goes on: "If our colleagues in China support the game then they will take over the publishing process."
Ryan DeSanto, Director of Business Development at NetEase North America and manager of the fund, believes that the initiative has the ability to unlock potential that would otherwise go unrecognised.
“There are so many developers with games that have great potential, but are constrained by rising user acquisition costs,” he said.
“Our goal is to create an alternative to the traditional mobile game publishing model, where developers can gain access to the resources necessary to scale their audience without giving up control of their business.”
The journey west
And David Ting, General Manager of NetEase North America, suggests that this is all part of the wider company's westward push.
After all, while the Guangzhou-based technology giant is the current holder of the #1 top grossing position on the App Store in China, its first foray into the Western mobile market - Speedy Ninja - has yet to be released.
“Not only are we committed to bringing NetEase’s games to a Western audience, but also to becoming an active member of the global game developer community,” he said.
“The NetEase Success Fund gives us the opportunity to expand our reach in the mobile space and help more developers bring fun experiences to gamers.”
For more information about NetEase Success Fund, visit its website.