NetEase’s new mobile martial arts game Justice has rapidly gained popularity after launching in China on June 30. The role-playing game has consistently ranked in the top three of the App Store’s free download game list and best-selling game list since its release.

Why it matters: Justice is being tipped as NetEase’s answer to Tencent’s Honor of Kings and HoYoverse’s Genshin Impact. The Chinese gaming giant also used AI to generate in-game dialogue and interactions with non-player characters (NPCs). 

  • NetEase’s flagship game in 2023, Justice achieved 40 million pre-registrations before its launch, according to its official account on social media platform Weibo. A flood of about one million online players crashed the game’s servers temporarily on the first day of its launch. On July 7, it topped the best-selling iOS game charts. 

Details: Set in China’s Song dynasty, Justice’s mobile version integrates diversified elements of imperial Song culture, including martial arts, mythical creatures, and traditional architecture. NetEase has said it will update the game regularly for at least the next ten years in a bid to build an adventurous martial arts fantasy world and serve millions of mobile players.

  • Players can customize their characters’ avatar through AI-powered settings, choosing various facial features, graphics, and literal descriptions. For instance, when players upload a portrait of themselves or input the requirements of ideal facial features, the system will generate a unique character in seconds.
  • Set in an expansive open world, players can choose from a range of game modes, such as instance dungeon, battles, puzzles, relationships, card collection, architecture building, farming, and map exploration.
  • Currently only available in China, Justice’s other significant feature is the use of AI to generate in-game dialogue and enable unique reactions from NPCs. Every action taken by players may have an impact on the game plot, the open world’s order, and NPCs’ behavior, NetEase has said.
  • Justice’s advertising budget amounted to RMB 46.2 million solely on June 20, a source from the game project has revealed. The general advertising fee of RMB 170 million ($23.49 million) on all platforms includes RMB 23 million ($3.17 million) on Douyin (the Chinese version of TikTok) and RMB 20 million ($2.76 million) on Weibo.
  • According to market analysis platform DataEye, the iOS version of Justice reached an estimated RMB 25.85 million ($3.57 million) in revenue on the first day of its launch.

Context: NetEase’s net revenues from games and related value-added services were RMB 74.56 billion ($10.8 billion) for the fiscal year 2022, with mobile games accounting for approximately 67% of net revenues from the operation of online games.

  • On May 20, NetEase unveiled 11 new games and updated 35 existing titles at its annual product launch event. In addition to Justice, the company also plans to launch another wuxia (martial arts fantasy) game called She Diao in the second half of this year.

Jessie Wu is a tech reporter based in Shanghai. She covers consumer electronics, semiconductor, and the gaming industry for TechNode. Connect with her via e-mail: