China’s NetEase is in advanced negotiations with Sega, according to Bloomberg, to acquire Japanese Yakuza director Toshihiro Nagoshi. As far as we know, there is no talk of taking over the rights to the series.
The bid to acquire Nagoshi shows that NetEase is in the process of expanding beyond the Chinese market, Bloomberg notes. In China itself, the games market is heavily regulated by the government. In addition to substantive control, the government, for example, places restrictions on how long minors can play online and on how much money children can spend in games.
Nagoshi would have his own team at NetEase for developing new games. It is not known what kind of games these would be, but given Nagoshi’s expertise, they could be games aimed at the Japanese market. According to Bloomberg sources, he has not yet signed a contract and his precise duties are yet to be recorded.
Nagoshi has been with Sega since 1989. He is currently the creative director there and heads the Ryu Ga Gotoku studio, which makes the Yakuza games. He was heavily involved in the production of all eight Yakuza games, mostly as a director or producer.
NetEase is one of the world’s largest game companies, with a turnover of more than 7 billion euros last year. The company is mainly big with free-to-play games in China, but is also increasingly targeting international markets. Blizzard is working with NetEase on Diablo Immortal and in September a Lord of The Rings smartphone game from NetEase will be released worldwide. NetEase also invested in Quantic Dream, the studio behind Detroit: Become Human.
Yakuza Like a Dragon