Chinese giant NetEase buys Quantic Dream, French video game nugget

It is one of the most famous three-color video game studios in the sector, which has just passed under the Chinese flag. This Wednesday, giant NetEase announced that it had acquired France’s Quantic Dream, of which it had been a minority shareholder since early 2019, for a ticket worth several tens of millions of euros at the time. The choice of NetEase, which has long been focused on mobile video games and the Asian market, but which is increasingly used in the console and PC gaming segments, as well as internationally.

“This is an ideal acquisition for NetEase as it complements their catalog in a segment they plan to accelerate in the coming years.” And the risk of integrating Quantic Dream is practically zero since they have been working with them since 2019,” notes Charles Louis Planade, video game financial analyst at TP ICAP. According to our information, the cost of acquiring Quantic Dream is several hundred million euros. The French group will become NetEase’s main video game development studio in Europe.

“There will be absolutely no change in management. NetEase’s policy is not to meddle with the studios they acquire. After that, we will have the opportunity to further strengthen our commercial and marketing partnership with NetEase in Asia, which is a very important region for us,” said David Cage, Founder and CEO of Quantic Dream. “NetEase is not buying Quantic to make more mobile games, even if we may be interested in doing so in the future,” said Guillaume de Fondomière, General Manager of Quantic Dream.

XXL success of Detroit: Become Human

Founded in 1997, the French group has gradually grown and gained momentum over the years, capitalizing on the good results of their games (“Heavy Rain”, “Beyond: Two Souls”), up to the XXL success of “Detroit: Become Human”. , released in 2018, has since sold over 7 million copies.

“Quantic Dream is one of the gems of French video games. Behind Ubisoft is the main development studio, claims Charles Louis Planade. This is a group that specialized in the genre of narrative games and was distinguished by its courage and ability to take risks. They made few games, but always very big games in terms of financial means and artistic ambitions. »

Thus, the budget for the development of “Detroit: Become Human” was 53 million euros, which puts it in the category of so-called “triple A” (high-end) games. A few months after the release of this game, the group killed two birds with one stone, bringing NetEase to the capital to get fresh money, while the exclusive contract that had tied it to Sony (PlayStation) since 2006 came to an end. Since then, this has allowed Quantic Dream to be present on all consoles and platforms (Steam, Epic Games Store, etc.), as well as acquire ownership and full operating capacity of its own production.

Developer who also became a publisher

Thus, during the split from Sony, Quantic Dream regained the rights to their old games (the “back catalogue”) published by Sony and released them on PC. This allowed him to expand his player base and has provided him with a regular income ever since. “We are forecasting a turnover equivalent to the last three years in 2022, that is, about 10 million euros, and a net result of about 3 million,” David Cage clarifies, while no new games of his own development have been released in four years.

The band opened a studio in Montreal last year. Quantic Dream now has over 250 employees and hopes to reach nearly 400 eventually. In recent years, Quantic has also expanded its operations as it has moved from being just a game developer to also becoming a publisher like Focus Entertainment (meaning funding, distributing or promoting games developed by third-party studios).

A week ago, Quantic Dream announced that it was going to publish the game Under The Waves from the French studio Parallel. For his part, the creator of Detroit: Become Human is currently working on three of his own games. So far, only one has been formalized: Star Wars: Eclipse, the new “triple A” game that the Hexagon Group is developing in collaboration with Lucasfilm Games. The budget for this new video game will be almost 100 million euros, which will be the most ambitious development ever carried out by Quantic Dream. Blessed bread for NetEase.

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