Tencent buys majority stake in Klei Entertainment, with the Don’t Starve developer retaining “full autonomy”

Tencent has bought a majority stake in Klei Entertainment, and the developer has stressed that it has retained full autonomy (via Eurogamer).

Klei, who is best known as the developer of the hugely successful 2013 title Don’t Starve, has that said it retains full control of the studio.

“We looked at a lot of different companies, and over the years, we’ve worked with a large number of publishers and distributors” said Klei founder Jamie Cheng in a forum post. “Tencent is the only company that we felt would let us retain the level of control that we demand.

“We’ve been working with Tencent for years and even at points where we disagreed, they were always willing to work with us to find the best solution for everybody involved and defer to us when we felt strongly.”

Klei has a history of working with Tencent, the Chinese company assisted with the distribution of Don’t Starve in China in 2016, and have assisted with Chinese launches since then. Cheng noted that Chinese players make up a large proportion of the players of Klei’s titles.

Cheng stressed that despite the deal, very little would change at the company.

“As part of this agreement, Klei retains full autonomy of creative and operations across all aspects of the studio, including projects, talent, and more.

“There are some boring accounting changes that we will need to adjust to” said Cheng. “Other than that, I will continue running the studio as before, with no changes to staffing, projects or other operations.”

This is just Tencent’s latest gaming investment, of course. In December 2020 Tencent acquired Leyou, the parent company of Splash Damage and Digital Extremes. Both Digital Extremes and Splash Damage also stated that they remained creatively independent following the acquisition.

About Chris Wallace

Chris is MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer, joining the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can regrettably be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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