One of the giants of games and internet in China has made a move into the West – Tencent has announced it will buy a minority stake in Epic Games.
Nothing much changes for the studio responsible for Unreal Engine and games including Gears of War. It will still be independent and and will focus on making games for all platforms.
But Tencent is a force to be reckoned with in its homeland, running social networks, web portals, e-commerce and MMO services.
It claims to have amost 650m active user accounts, giving it the world’s largest online community.
Epic, which has been in business for 20 years, has not only created the billion-dollar Gears of War franchise but also the Unreal and Unreal Tournament series for PC, and the Infinity Blade games for iOS. It owns studios in the USA, China and Poland.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed and is expected to be signed off within a month.
“We’ve developed a huge amount of respect for the Epic team for many years now, as dedicated players of Epic’s games and as licensees of Epic’s Unreal Engine technology,” said David Wallerstein, Senior EVP of Tencent.
"Epic’s deep commitment to quality across all of its games and technologies inspires us. They’ve been raising expectations in gaming for two decades now and they’re just getting started.
“We have a lot that we can learn from each other, and we look forward to supporting the Epic team as they embark on their next phase of gaming innovation across both emerging and familiar platforms.”
Epic Games’ president Dr. Michael Capps added: “Tencent’s investment will empower Epic to help us do even more of what we do best, which is making great games and game technology.
"Their expertise in the global online gaming market is second-to-none, and the opportunity to work with them to bring richer experiences to players all over the world is irresistible.
“Epic is excited to be full steam ahead on all of its current plans for this generation of games and the next, with the support of a fantastic partner that believes in our strategy and shares our dream.”