Chinese MMO company NetEase invests $50M into SpatialOS MMO platform


Improbable’s SpatialOS is moving on up in the world: The company announced this week that China’s NetEase has invested $50 million to acquire a “small equity stake to act as strategic investment” in the company. And that’s not just casual money; NetEase is apparently planning on developing multiple games using SpatialOS, the first of which is expected to be revealed later in 2018.

“We are recruiting and establishing a presence able to support game developers of all types within China who wish to use SpatialOS, and actively seeking other ­­partners in Asia,” Improbable says. “The investment will increase our ability to help game makers in China and beyond to build previously impossible games, by helping game makers to benefit from a neutral, openly available technology platform supporting the next generation of online gaming.”

SpatialOS has been described as a “distributed computing platform for building large virtual worlds for gaming” – specially for online games and MMORPGs. “I want the industry to believe in online games again,” CEO Herman Narula said back in 2017. “We went through a bit of a nuclear winter, with MMOs in particular, and part of that was technological, part of that was gameplay and part of that was consumer expectation. But now the time is right to revitalise the notion of worlds where actions can be meaningful and where we can create these experiences that we’ve dreamed of. I am hoping that with us having this cash and having this stability, it’s going to make people excited about investing in that.”

The platform is being used widely by a number of emerging games, from Worlds Adrift and Seed to Mavericks and the newly Kickstarted Fractured; notably, Jagex is using the platform for a new game, while Chronicles of Elyria dropped it during development. Last year, Improbable picked up a half-billion dollar investment from Japan’s SoftBank, which at the time represented less than half the value of the company.

More coverage of Improbable and games using SpatialOS:

Source: Improbable

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Interesting. I think this is good news for us. Spatial OS is a work in progress as we have seen from the last articles and Andrews coverage. But I believe that it is a step in the right direction for the modern MMOs and MMORPGs.

Without going into the nut and bolts, this OS is on the cusp of creating truly dynamic worlds. There are outstanding questions regarding server power required and the investment therein which doesn’t bode well for indies.

Nevertheless, a 50 million dollar infusion certainly will help continue the R&D and maybe generate a break through.

And yet, I get nervous when Chinese conglomerates make such investments. Not that that is evil, but they certainly buy a measure of control as well.

But, kudos to Spatial OS. Keep on “trucking”!


Games have hit a point of stagnation for the last decade, if this can help break the stagnation, I’m all for it.


It might help, yes. But it is emerging tech so I expect some growing pains.


50 mil is nice for them, and it’s always good, but sincerely, it’s a drop in their bucket : Their valuation today is likely closer to $2b today than the 1b it was then.

Interestingly enough, only after typing that last paragraph I Googled and found this : Ah!

That being said, SpatialOS as a complex, scalable and with a low barrier of entry in terms of large/complex simulation, its purpose goes way beyond gaming; it’s actually probably not where they’re expecting the profits to turn in, at least at first.

Andrew Ross
Andrew Ross

You’re kind of right in that last paragraph:

They’ve gotten funding from governments to run real-world simulations, like with disaster sims.