UPDATE (5:52 PM EST): Bluehole Studio told The Esports Observer that Tencent has not invested in Bluehole: “These reports are not accurate. Tencent didn’t make an investment into Bluehole.”
Chinese internet giant Tencent has invested in Bluehole Studio, the developer of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), according to a report by Jiemian News.
Tencent reportedly offered to purchase the game outright, but Bluehole declined the offer. Tencent then decided invest an undisclosed amount into Bluehole instead, according to the report.
Tencent is China’s largest internet company and also owns Riot Games, developer of League of Legends. Tencent is the publisher of League of Legends for China and also created QQ Games, a client for multiplayer online games though which many young Chinese players find their next game to play. To play Tencent games, players only need a QQ ID in many cases in order to make an account for the game of their choice. As QQ is attached to email and instant messaging services, it’s often the way many Chinese children have access to games through QQ Games without having to talk to their parents about signing up for a game using a citizen ID.
The company also has a knack for taking games developed outside of China and making them huge domestic hits. CrossFire, a Korean-developed online multiplayer shooting game, is also published by Tencent and, according to a report by SuperData, has generated the third most revenue of any PC game through the first half of 2017.
PUBG has sold more than 4 million copies in three months and has become quite popular worldwide. There is already a steadily growing professional scene in the game, as the first LAN tournament will be held at Gamescom and organized by ESL. Major esports organizations such as Team Liquid and Team SoloMid have already picked up rosters of their own, with fans expecting more teams to follow suit in the future.
Cover photo courtesy of Bluehole