Chinese gaming giant NetEase has acquired Canadian support studio SkyBox Labs, which has worked on some pretty meaty AAA fare. While SkyBox's work is mostly done behind the scenes, you might recognize some of the games it's been involved in, namely Minecraft, Fallout 76, and Halo Infinite.
Per a press release, SkyBox will "continue to operate independently" under NetEase's ownership, and will keep supporting major developers as it has done in the past. Additionally, the studio will keep seeking out new partners to assist. SkyBox co-founder Shyang Kong says NetEase's purchase will allow the studio to "scale faster" and gain access to "world-class operational resources".
The amount for the deal wasn't disclosed by either party, but it's understood that there won't be any changes in terms of staffing or location. SkyBox will remain based in its Burnaby and Victoria locations and will continue to operate in its areas of expertise, including "art, engineering, design, production, and QA". This is one of those "unsung hero"-type studios, it seems.
According to SkyBox's official website, the company is currently "co-developing Halo Infinite, working on projects in the Minecraft universe, and supporting development of Fallout 76". It's expected that all of those initiatives will continue alongside any new developers or games that SkyBox wants to work with in future.
This is just one of several major acquisitions made by NetEase games in recent months. In August last year, the Chinese giant acquired Heavy Rain and Detroit: Become Human developer Quantic Dream, and it also bought up Suda51's studio Grasshopper Manufacture in late 2021.
Additionally, NetEase has poached major gaming industry figures like Capcom's Hiroyuki Kobayashi and Yakuza creator Toshihiro Nagoshi, who departed Sega in order to found a joint studio venture with NetEase. It's fair to say the Chinese company is shoring up its international investments significantly right now. Of course, it's not all smooth sailing for NetEase. The company is currently facing a lawsuit from Riot Games over Hyper Front, a game that Riot alleges is a "copy" of its own hero shooter Valorant. Stay tuned for more on NetEase.