Every game company that Tencent has invested in | PC Gamer

tencent is the world’s largest game publisher. It’s a Chinese internet and entertainment giant, the equivalent of Facebook or Google, but gamers around the world are probably more familiar with Tencent’s investments in a growing number of game developers and publishers.

But with over 300 investments in his portfolio, keeping track of every company Tencent has a stake in can be a bit daunting.

Reading: How much does tencent own

That’s why I’ve created this reference that lists each of Tencent’s public investments in foreign gaming companies (basically companies outside of China), including, where possible, how much of that company Tencent owns. As part of our ongoing coverage of PC gaming in China, it’s also important to understand the growing influence Chinese gaming companies like Tencent have on the global market. US President Trump recently issued an executive order (opens in a new tab) banning transactions with Tencent’s WeChat app, but has since clarified that this will not affect the company’s game offerings.

riot games (league of legends) – 100 percent

In 2011, Tencent went from being the publishing partner of Riot Games in China to its majority shareholder after paying $400 million for a 93 percent stake in the developer of League of Legends. four years later, tencent snapped up the remaining 7% of the equity for an undisclosed amount, taking full control of riot gaming just as league of legends was exploding as an esport around the world.

Tencent’s purchase of Riot was nothing short of prophetic: League of Legends is the world’s most popular PC game, with an estimated $1.4 billion in revenue last year. Riot Games is still largely free to run the game as it pleases, but that relationship has some ugly drawbacks. Wanting to cash in on the rise of mobile gaming, Tencent tried to make a mobile version of Lol. When the developer refused, Tencent went ahead and made their own mobile clone of LOL called Arena of Valor which became one of the most profitable mobile games in Asia, and Riot wasn’t too happy about it. that is now mostly water under the bridge now that tencent has abandoned arena of valor in the west and riot is now making a mobile version of lol. Bickering aside, Tencent’s purchase of Riot has cemented him as the king of esports.

epic games: 40 percent

Tencent’s $330 million investment in Epic Games in June 2012 triggered one of the most dramatic changes in PC gaming in the past decade, ushering in a new era of free-to-play games as a service. Seeing that “the old model” of game sales was not working, Epic’s founder Tim Sweeney decided to join forces with Tencent to learn more about operating live service games. it was worth it.

With investment from Tencent, Epic dropped the monthly subscription to Unreal Engine 4 in favor of a free version where Epic earned royalties on sales. Although developers may pay more for a long-term successful game, it opened up the Unreal Engine to a huge community of indie developers and helped fuel intense competition between rival engine Unity, which up to that point was considered the best technology for small developers. At the same time, Epic began experimenting with live service games like Paragon and Fortnite: Save the World. While both games were flops, Save the World put Epic in the perfect spot to jump on the battle royale bandwagon and, almost by accident, create the biggest gaming pop culture phenomenon since Minecraft and Pokémon. Last year, Fortnite made $2.4 billion, making it the most profitable game of that year.

bluehole (playerunknown’s battlegrounds): 11.5%

yes, tencent is a piece of both fortnite and pubg, the two dominant battle royales. What’s even funnier is that Tencent also has rights to publish both games in China, which means it’s actually competing with itself, which isn’t a bad place to be. increasing that investment to an undisclosed amount rumored to be around 10 percent. However, it is probably just the beginning as Tencent is rumored to be looking at a full takeover of Bluehole.

ubisoft: 5 percent

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tencent was one of several investors who helped ubisoft survive a hostile takeover last year by vivendi, ubisoft’s largest shareholder at the time. For years, Vivendi had been taking an increasing stake in Ubisoft in hopes of unseating founder Yves Guillemot and gaining control, jeopardizing thousands of jobs in the process. The situation seemed bleak until ubisoft struck a deal with Vivendi in which the French conglomerate sold its stake to a variety of investors including Tencent.

As part of the deal, however, Tencent is only a silent partner that cannot increase Ubisoft’s voting rights or ownership interest, making a hostile takeover by Tencent impossible. The Ubisoft stock acquisition also heralded a strategic partnership in which Tencent would publish Ubisoft games in China, prompting its own censorship backlash.

activision blizzard – 5 percent

Years before Ubisoft, Tencent helped another company escape Vivendi: Activision Blizzard. Activision fell under Vivendi’s control back in 2007 when it merged with Vivendi’s subsidiary games to join forces with Blizzard and profit from the huge success of World of Warcraft. Five years later, the merged Activision Blizzard companies announced an agreement to buy back Vivendi’s stake in the company and become independent, with Tencent taking the opportunity to buy 5 percent of the company for an undisclosed amount.

grind gear sets (path of exile): 80%

In 2018, Tencent took a majority stake in New Zealand Path of Exile developer Grinding Gear Games. The purchase alarmed Path of Exile players who feared the Chinese publisher would start implementing more aggressive microtransactions or changes to Path of Exile’s delicate in-game economy. But, like many of Tencent’s acquisitions, Grinding Gear Games has reportedly maintained its independence from the Path of Exile operation. in the year since then, little has changed in the way of the exile economy or microtransactions despite the game’s continued growth.

other investments to highlight

supercell – 84.3 percent: Tencent’s $8.6 billion investment in this Finnish mobile developer is one of the largest purchases in video game history. But considering that 60 percent of Tencent’s $19.13 billion in gaming revenue last year came from mobile gaming and Supercell’s enduring hits like Clash of Clans, the acquisition makes a lot of sense. Much like Riot Games, Supercell is reported to retain most of its independence and is still located in Finland.

Platinum Games: Undisclosed Investment: In early 2020, Tencent invested an undisclosed amount in Platinum Games, but the terms of the deal are not specified. Kenichi Sato, Chairman and CEO of Platinum, said that Tencent “has no effect on the independence of our company, and we will continue to operate under our current corporate structure.”

Yager – Undisclosed Investment: In February 2020, Tencent also invested an undisclosed amount in Spec Ops developer Yager: the line between some newer but less notable free-to-play games. Just like in the platinum games, Yager’s cash infusion allows the company to maintain its independence while improving its operations.

frontier developments: 9%: tencent invested £17.7m in the developer of elite danger and planet zoo in 2017 as part of a strategic partnership to capitalize on increased interest in space games and “theme parks”. in china.

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kakao – 13.5 percent: kakao is a South Korean internet and entertainment company whose gaming subsidiary is responsible for the mega-hit black desert online, which surpassed $1 billion in sales. gross sales last year, and also publishes pubg in south korea.

paradox interactive – 5 percent: When paradox, the Swedish grand strategy publisher, first went public in 2016, tencent swooped in to buy 5 percent for $21 million . part of the sale was motivated because steven ma, the head of tencent games publishing, is a big fan of hearts of iron 2.

fatshark – 36 percent: warhammer: the success of vermintide 2 led tencent to acquire a large minority stake in Swedish developer fatshark in early 2019 for an estimated $56 million.

Funcom – 29 Percent: Tencent’s most recent purchase was 29 percent of Funcom, the makers of Conan Exiles and Secret World. More recently, Tencent has announced plans (opens in new tab) to fully acquire Funcom.

sharkmob – 100 percent: tencent bought this new studio made up of ex-the division and hitman devs in early 2019, though they have yet to announce their first game.

discord: discord received $158 million in funding last year, including an undisclosed amount from tencent (among many other investors).

which covers most of the companies that pc gamers will be interested in. He also owns about 20 percent of the shares in Sea, a Southeast Asian esports and publishing company, an undisclosed majority stake in web game publisher Miniclip, and about a half-dozen minority stakes in a variety of gaming companies. mobile games to boot.

Update 10/9/2019: This article originally claimed that tencent had a 48.4% share of epic games, but that was a bit misleading. Tencent purchased the remaining 48.4 percent of Epic’s shares at that time, which equates to an overall total of a 40 percent stake in Epic Games. We’ve updated the article to reflect that.

update 10/7/2019: This article originally stated that tencent owned a 39.7% stake in sea, but that figure was outdated. we’ve updated the article to reflect that.

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