Ubisoft will be popping some bottles tonight.
Just about a month ago rumors swirled that Tencent, major Chinese investor and owner of League of Legends dev Riot Games, had just invested in Bluehole, the developer behind the insanely popular PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. That rumor was just that, a rumor. Both companies denied any such investment, acknowledged that Tencent did once try to buy Bluehole, but the two were still separate as can be. Things sure do change in a month.
Tencent now owns 5% of Bluehole and they may not be stopping there. In an interview with Bloomberg, Bluehole’s chairman revealed that Tencent “can be a very important partner for us.” Most assumed that meant a possible publishing deal so the Korean Bluehole could break into the massive Chinese market through Tencent. It seems that Tencent wants their relationship to be much closer than that.
To put that 5% in perspective, Bluehole’s chairman, Chang Byung-gyu, owns about 20% of Bluehole. That means, for right now, Tencent is already a major stockholder in the PUBG developer. This puts Bluehole in the same league as other Tencent video game investments like Epic Games, Frontier Developments, and of course Riot Games. No word from either company how this could impact Bluehole or PUBG’s future, but more than likely it won’t have any direct results anytime soon. Tencent knows how to make a successful game even more successful, as we’ve seen with League of Legends.
Tencent is now one of the top 10 wealthiest companies in the world, and they clearly have an interest in video game development. So don’t expect these kind of news stories to stop anytime soon.