Microsoft-owned developer Mojang has announced plans to bring its popular world-building video game Minecraft to China. Microsoft and Mojang have signed a "five-year exclusive partnership" with Chinese software publisher NetEase to license Minecraft's mobile and PC editions in China.
They have also confirmed plans to create a special version of the game specifically tailored for the Chinese market, according to a blog post. They have not specified when the game will become available or what changes will be made to the core game.
NetEase also operates a number of other Western-developed games in China as well, including digital card game Hearthstone and the wildly popular RPG World of Warcraft.
"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," CEO of Mojang Jonas Martensson said in a statement. "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."
Mojang released a video featuring Minecraft developer Jens Bergensten speaking in Chinese and performing martial arts to announce the news as well.
NetEase founder and CEO William Ding also expressed his excitement to launch the world's most popular game in China, saying he expects the game to be a big hit there as well.
"We are excited to bring Minecraft to Chinese audiences, and expect our large online community to embrace this preeminent game," said William Ding, CEO and founder of NetEase, Inc. "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."
In September 2015, Mojang released the Minecraft: Xbox One edition in China - a country where consoles have struggled to penetrate the market as well as PCs and smartphones have.
Released in 2009, Minecraft sports more than 100 million registered gamers, allowing players to create their own worlds and explore those of others as well. Microsoft will look to increase its already massive base by tapping into China's nearly 700 million Internet users, more than two-thirds of whom prefer to surf on their smartphones.