NetEase, Inc. (simplified Chinese: 网易; traditional Chinese: 網易; pinyin: WǎngYì) is a Chinese Internet technology company providing online services centered on content, community, communications and commerce. The company was founded in 1997 by Ding Lei. NetEase develops and operates online PC and mobile games, advertising services, email services, e-commerce platforms and farming in China.
As NetEase Games, NetEase has developed several online games operated exclusively in China, some of NetEase's most popular online games include the Westward Journey series, as well as other games, such as Tianxia III, Heroes of Tang Dynasty and Zero and Ghost II. NetEase is also the main partner of Blizzard Entertainment whose operating a local version of Warcraft III, World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, StarCraft II, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, Overwatch in China. Recently, they also developed several mobile games, the most famous being the Onmyoji series. As of 2020, NetEase is the third largest video game company in the world (after Tencent and Sony).
This page will focus on NetEase's involvement in the gaming industry.
Why They Suck
- Similar to the rival Chinese company Tencent, NetEase is infamous for copying a lot of products and branding it as their own. The main difference between NetEase and Tencent is that their games has even fewer originality than Tencent's as they also tried to copy Tencent's games as well. The most infamous examples include;
- Rules of Survival is a clone of Bluehole's PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds.
- Creative Destruction is a clone of Epic Games' Fortnite Battle Royale.
- Knives Out is a mixture clone of PUBG and EA's Apex Legends.
- LifeAfter is a clone of Capcom's Resident Evil/Biohazard.
- Crusaders of Light is clone of Blizzard's Diablo.
- They kept chasing the fad by releasing various games of the same gerne with very little to no differences, this can be seen by the fact they have published 5 battle royale games and 4 MOBA games from different franchises under a span of just 5 years.
- This can be explained by the fact that Tencent, their rival company, has threatened to file a lawsuit against NetEase for copying the games made by their subsidiaries (PUBG, Fortnite, and League of Legends) in which NetEase responded by removing the previous games from China and replaced it with the new ones.
- They have included a huge amount of microtransactions into their games and made them pay-to-win, most prominently loot boxes and gacha. The most infamous example being the original Onmyoji game which is well known for its horrible gacha drop rate for rare characters.
- They have acquired various licenses to create several cash grab titles, such as;
- They acquired a license from Marvel Comics to create Marvel Super Wars, which is essentially a clone of Riot Games' League of Legends with Marvel characters in it.
- They made a deal with Capcom to feature some of the characters from Resident Evil/Biohazard franchise into LifeAfter. The sheer irony in this collaboration is the fact that LifeAfter is a clone of Resident Evil/Biohazard.
- As lately, they have started to milk the Onmyoji franchise by creating a rip-off spin-off games, such as Onmyoji Arena (a clone of Riot's LoL) and Onmyoji Chess (a clone of Valve's Artifact).
- NetEase is infamous for pioneering the paid mods concept; they are operating Wanmod, a Chinese game modding site where you must pay to download mods. The concept was later adapted by Bethesda to make the Creation Club.
- Due to the Chinese "business partner" law that forced foreign companies to do their business via partnering with Chinese companies, NetEase has acquired several licenses to operate the Chinese server of various games. In turn, NetEase has abused these licenses by adding a lot of microtransactions into the game. The worst case is the Chinese version of Minecraft, in which NetEase intentionally turned the game into a free-to-play online game and sells various in-game items for real money, as well as implementing the aforementioned paid mods system into the game.
- As mentioned above, due to the Chinese "business partner" law, Blizzard Entertainment has chosen NetEase as their main partner since 2009. Since then, NetEase has influrenced Blizzard and contributed into its downfall, including;
- They have implemented a pay-to-win system into the Chinese server of World of Warcraft which was restricted years later in China due to anti-loot box laws, in which Blizzard would've later implemented it into the worldwide server of WoW.
- Blizzard have outsourced the Diablo franchises to NetEase to create several clones out of it (such as Crusader of Light).
- They are possibly one of the main factors behind Blitzchung's ban, as they didn't want to get into trouble with the Communist Party of China.
- NetEase is one of the earliest game developers in China who have greatly contributed to the rapid expansion of the game industry and market in the country, as can be seen by their older titles Westward Journey which is one of the most popular game in China thanks to some originality in the game.
- As the only company in China which were able to challenge Tencent's near monopoly in the game market, NetEase has launched Fever Games Store in an attempt to pose a real competition against Tencent's Wegame store.
- NetEase's official website address is 163.com. This was attributed to the past when Chinese internet users had to dial "163" to connect to the internet, before the availability of broadband internet.
- Although NetEase is a tech company. In 2019, NetEase has started to investing into pig farms after the Chinese government vows to boost domestic pork production in response to the African swine fever pandemic.