Titles such as Dead by Daylight Mobile, Lord of the Rings: War and Onmyoji The Card Game have all had their publishers change. However, several NetEase titles still retain NetEase Games as their publisher.
This shift came with almost no information regarding the new entity. Exptional Global has no official website, isn’t mentioned on NetEase’s investor relation site, and several of the games which have seen their information change on Google Play still list NetEase as their publisher on their official sites. However, AppBrain does state that Exptional is based in Singapore, although it doesn’t clarify where this information comes from.
In a statement to Gamerbraves, a spokesperson for NetEase said: “Based on NetEase Games’ global publishing operation plan, moving forward players can also find us on Google Play at EXPTIONAL PTE. LTD. to access our library of global publishing content. We look forward to engaging all of our fans at this new storefront on Google Play and continuing to deliver all of the high-quality games you expect from us.”
The company also confirmed that this is the first stage in a gradual rollout, and other games will soon shift to the new label. However, it didn’t state whether this will affect all NetEase games.
Overcoming exptional circumstances
China has imposed strict restrictions on gaming in an effort to curtail video game addiction, and the country’s strict censorship laws have caused numerous delays or bans. Establishing a publishing presence outside of China lets companies circumvent these restrictions to an extent, allowing for features such as different cosmetics.
It’s also worth considering China’s unique relationship with Google. The Google Play Store is unavailable in China, and it’s certainly interesting that only the Google Play Store has been affected by the change. At present, there’s no indication as to whether the iOS App Store will likewise see this shift in publisher.
It’s also worth noting that many Chinese companies are attempting to disguise their origins in an attempt to avoid backlash due to the country’s place in global politics, an example being the tension with India which has seen several Chinese titles banned in the country. By shifting publication to a new arm in Singapore, with a new name, it’s possible that NetEase hopes it can regain some business lost due to previous stigma.
We listed NetEase as the top mobile game maker of 2022.