Bungie, the studio that brought us Halo and Destiny, has just struck a mammoth $100m deal with Chinese media giant NetEase. The deal sees NetEase take a minority stake in Bungie, which the developer will use to begin self-publishing its titles in the future.
"With their industry expertise, they’ll empower us to build new worlds and invite players, new and old, to join us there," says Bungie's official announcement.
The big question for gamers in the west, of course, is what this means for Destiny. Bungie famously struck a deal with Activision in 2010 for a ten year plan to create and sustain the Destiny franchise. Mathematically gifted readers will already have worked out that this decade-long deal comes to an end soon.
Bungie has this to say on the future of Destiny: "...this news won’t impact the hobby you’ve come to know. Destiny is an experience that will grow for many years to come. We’ll continue to work with our partners at Activision to foster this global community and turn new players from all over the world into Guardians. Our commitment to that world is not diminished by this announcement."
Interestingly, NetEase and Activision have an existing business relationship via the Blizzard side of the company. NetEase has handled World of Warcraft's Chinese operation since 2009, and also released StarCraft 2, Overwatch, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm and Diablo 3 in the country.
Notably, Destiny 2 has yet to reach China, so a three-way deal between Bungie, NetEase and Activision-Blizzard to launch the game there could well provide the influx of cash and new players needed to sustain Destiny beyond the terms of the original 2010 deal.