A recent Bloomberg report states that industry veteran and Yakuza creator Toshihiro Nagoshi is on the brink of leaving SEGA and negotiations with NetEase are already underway. The report states that the change is directly influenced by China’s recent crackdown against gaming addiction.
It’s been also stated that Toshihiro Nagoshi will be assembling his own team at NetEase which will then be working on new games for the Hangzou-based company. It’s believed that if these negotiations do come to fruition, this would be a clear confirmation of NetEase to expand beyond the region of China. As of the time of writing, Sega and NetEase are yet to comment on the matter.
NetEase is one of many Chinese gaming giants who have been eyeing on potential partnerships with developers and publishers outside the region. The Tecent-owned TiMi Studios recently partnered with The Pokemon Company for Pokemon Unite, announced a partnership with Xbox Game Studios, and completed the acquisition of Sumo Digital for $1.27 billion.
NetEase itself has been a publishing partner for Blizzard for a while now, and reportedly wants to hire foreign talent for its original IPs. Yakuza developer Sega also recently got embroiled in a controversy with Lost Judgment voice actor’s talent agency over a PC release, which you can also read through here.