Chinese tech giant NetEase is buying Quantic Dream as its first European game studio

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Quantic Dream

Three and a half years after Chinese tech conglomerate NetEase snapped up a minority stake in Quantic Dream (of Heavy Rain and Detroit: Become Human fame), it is gobbling up the rest of the developer. NetEase didn't reveal how much it's spending to buy out the studio, which will be its first in Europe.

After Quantic Dream formally becomes a NetEase subsidiary, it will continue to operate independently as a studio and publisher of first- and third-party titles. Additionally, it will be able to tap into NetEase's game development capabilities.

The studio has a couple of projects in the pipeline. Last December, it provided the first peek of Star Wars Eclipse, which is set in the High Republic era of a certain galaxy that's far, far away. Earlier this month, during Gamescom, it revealed it's publishing a game called Under the Waves. Parallel Studio is developing that title with the help of Quantic Dream's motion-capture, animation and voice-recording knowhow.

In 2018, ex-Quantic Dream employees accused the company of fostering a toxic work environment, where sexism, racism and homophobia were present. Later that year, a French court determined the company unfairly dismissed a former employee who made allegations of workplace harassment, but that ruling was overturned in 2021. Quantic Dream, which won libel suits against publications that reported on accusations against it, has refuted notions that it has a “toxic atmosphere“ or allows "any kind of discrimination in the studio."

This acquisition marks the latest entry in a long, long list of studio buyouts this year. Among others, Sony has bought Destiny 2 developer Bungie, Haven Studios and, to help set up a mobile gaming division, Savage Game Studio. Along with Tencent, it just acquired a sizable, but minority stake in Elden Ring studio FromSoftware.

Elsewhere, Embracer Group is continuing on its quest to seemingly snap up every developer it possibly can. And then, of course, there's Microsoft's blockbuster acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which is still pending. On that note, NetEase publishes Blizzard games in China, including Diablo Immortal, which it co-developed.