Microsoft and Mojang are opening the blocky floodgates by partnering with Chinese software publisher NetEase to bring Minecraft to more of China's many gamers.
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This newly announced version of Minecraft will be tailored to China's PC and mobile gamers (unlike a previous version of Minecraft that launched on the Xbox One), but details are scant. We suspect it'll help the game skyrocket past its current count of 100 million players, however.
"We are excited to bring Minecraft to Chinese audiences, and expect our large online community to embrace this preeminent game. With our deep understanding of the Chinese market and our ability to successfully launch world-renowned online and mobile games, we offer a strong platform for the introduction of Minecraft to China's vast user base. We believe this cooperation could leverage the strengths of both Mojang and NetEase, as well as provide the world's largest audience with a superior user experience," said William Ding, NetEase CEO, in a statement.
It's unclear just how much the partnership is costing Microsoft and Mojang, but it's likely a necessary evil. For example, even though Microsoft has a presence in Shanghai, it still had to partner with another company to launch Minecraft for the Xbox One. It's difficult for foreign entities to acquire the regulatory permits needed to launch games, and working with a local publisher is often the way companies can get around some of the red tape.
"We'll always embrace opportunities to bring Minecraft to new players around the world, widening our community, and giving us a new perspective on our game. NetEase understand our long-term vision for Minecraft and support Mojang's ideals, so we're delighted to have them on board. We look forward to welcoming China's builders and adventurers to the world of Minecraft," said Jonas Martensson, Mojang CEO, in a statement.