China’s NetEase buys gaming studio involved in major titles including Halo Infinite and Minecraft

Canadian firm SkyBox Labs is co-developing Halo Infinite for Microsoft’s Xbox. NetEase acquired SkyBox Labs as part of an aggressive international push and as it eyes a slice of the console market.

Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

NetEase announced on Friday it had acquired Canadian gaming studio SkyBox Labs which is co-developing major games including Halo Infinte, as the Chinese technology giant continues its aggressive international push.

SkyBox labs will operate independently under NetEase, China’s second-biggest gaming company. The two companies did not disclose the financial terms of the deal.

NetEase has ramped up its international expansion efforts in gaming over the last two years as China’s domestic market has slowed amid tougher regulation.

While its rival Tencent has been more active in acquiring gaming studios in the past, NetEase is looking to catch up with an aggressive international push.

The company purchased French game developer Quantic Dream last year, marking the establishment of its first fully owned studio in Europe. NetEase has also set up gaming studios in Japan and the U.S.

It has focused on investing in or acquiring companies that have worked on strong franchises and brands. SkyBox Labs fits the bill: the Canadian firm has worked with gaming firms including Xbox Game Studios and Electronic Arts.

SkyBox Labs is currently co-developing Halo Infinite and working on projects with Minecraft.

NetEase has already released mobile games based on the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings franchises.

The company said it will support SkyBox Labs with “resources and execution capabilities so that SkyBox Labs can achieve faster scale while maintaining the quality of work the studio is known for.”

While NetEase has typically focused on mobile and PC gaming, the company has set its sights on becoming a major player in consoles too — an area SkyBox Labs is big in.

NetEase said SkyBox Labs “will continue to operate independently, working closely with existing and new partners to pursue creative opportunities and co-develop titles in the PC and console space.”

(With Inputs from cnbc)

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