Today, Netease announced the formation of a new game studio named “GPTRACK50”. The studio will be led by renowned producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi, one of the team behind the Devil May Cry, Resident Evil, Dino Crisis and Dragon’s Dogma series. He’ll be leading the studio in the creation of original IP’s for the PC and console markets, a move which represents a major step beyond Netease’s usual market. The studio is also bringing on veterans from the movie and television industry, with the goal to create franchise IPs with footholds in movie, games, manga and anime.
Kobayashi was quoted as saying in the announcement, “I believe that NetEase Games, a company with extensive experience in investment and co-development, is a very reliable business partner in developing high quality games and entertainment projects. With the support and respect from NetEase in understanding me and my team’s development achievements and values, I will build a stronger team with the goal of creating more original quality content that will satisfy users around the world.”
Dino May Cry in the Dragon’s Residence of Evil
The new studio represents a departure from Netease of their highly lucrative mobile gaming history. The Chinese market has been facing stiff pressure from economic circumstances, as well as tightening government regulations for both video games and to support their “Zero Covid” approach. Many analyses forecast the Chinese mobile market, currently the largest in the world, to decline in revenue for the first time in over two decades.
Netease might be hedging their bets, especially by forming the team with a Japanese producer in lead. Japan already has a world-renowned video game industry, and with Netease’s financial backing and industry veterans on board, the new studio will be well placed to step into the industry virtually fully formed.
However, even though this indicates Netease diversifying their game holdings, it could also be taken that these new IPs will provide a source for mobile game adaptations in future. However, producing a marketable franchise out of nothing is no easy task, so it may be a few years at minimum before we see what the first major game by GPTRACK50 will look like.