Bungie announced a new partnership with Chinese online gaming company NetEase today to the tune of a $100 million investment and a minority stake in the Destiny developers. NetEase will also get a seat on Bungie's board of directors.
"Today, we're excited to announce that we've entered into a new partnership with NetEase to help us explore new directions," writes Bungie in an official update. "With their industry expertise, they'll empower us to build new worlds and invite players, new and old, to join us there."
That last bit certainly sounds like Bungie could be working with NetEase on a new IP. Or at the very least a deal that could see Destiny published in China. It should be noted that NetEase currently operates Blizzard's online games like Overwatch in China, and Bungie and Activision-Blizzard are currently partnered for Destiny.
Bungie CEO Pete Parsons told GamesIndustry.biz that the partnership doesn't have an "explicit deal [to publish Bungie games in China]." But Parsons also says that the deal will help Bungie become as "global, multi-franchise entertainment studio," which can be better achieved through NetEase's expertise.
Bungie also clarified that the deal won't affect Destiny, and that Bungie's MMO-FPS "is an experience that will grow for many years to come." Bungie will keep working with Activision to maintain Destiny's community and "turn new players from all over the world into Guardians," another hint that the NetEase deal could bring Destiny to China.
NetEase is another online gaming giant operating out of mainland China alongside Tencent. The games industry is just the latest entertainment industry that's looking to tap into the lucrative Chinese market. And to do so often requires partnering with an established Chinese company to get a foothold in the country.
Destiny 2 is currently readying to unveil its Year 2 content. The latest expansion, Warmind, was just released and you can find our Destiny 2 Warmind guide here.