Mattel has entered into a joint-venture with Chinese internet technology and video game company NetEase to form a mobile publishing and development studio called Mattel163.
The studio will draw on NetEase’s expertise in digital content and gaming to create apps based on Mattel global brands including Barbie, Hot Wheels and Thomas & Friends. Mattel163′s first title is based on the game UNO, and is available now on Facebook Messenger. The all-ages game will soon roll out on iOS and Android devices.
NetEase has developed a number of popular mobile games like Fantasy Westward Journey, The Ghost, Onmyoji and Rules of Survival. The name Mattel163 is a nod to NetEase’s original URL (http://www.163.com), which was a reference to the days when users in China dialed the digits 163 to gain access to the internet.
The joint venture falls in line with Mattel’s transformation plan. Last year, the toymaker unveiled a five-pillar strategy that would see it make major strides in creating digital content, internet-connected toys and products that promote learning. The plan focuses on building Mattel’s Power Brands–including Barbie, Fisher-Price and American Girl – into 360-degree connected systems of play and experience.