Mattel has announced that it has formed a partnership with the Chinese technology company NetEase to create a new game development studio called Mattel163.
Mattel joins the ranks of other major companies NetEase has forged partnerships with, including Blizzard and Minecraft-maker Mojang, though those deals typically lead to the release of existing games in China rather than the formation of a new development studio geared toward global releases.
The joint venture aims to use Mattel’s library of brands, which include Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, and Thomas & Friends, to create mobile games and educational apps for the global market.
The studio’s first release, a mobile UNO game, launched on Facebook Messenger earlier today and is due out on both iOS and Android in the near future.
”By combining NetEase's global footprint and established roots in gaming and education with Mattel's iconic consumer brands, Mattel163 will be able to bring even more creative and innovative gaming and educational experiences to users around the world,” said a statement from NetEase corporate vice president Benjamin Ha.
The name of the new studio itself is an homage to both NetEase's early www.163.com URL and the three numbers users had to dial in order to connect to the world wide web in the early days of internet availability in China.