Tencent acquires a majority stake in Yager Development, the German studio known for Spec Ops: The Line, the acclaimed war game of 2012 (much more for its daring narrative than for its playability). According to the founders of Yager in an interview in a half german, this deal is due to the great trust between the two companies, and they define it as a natural step.
Tencent, the world’s largest video game company, already bought a minority stake in Yager in 2020. The extent of Tencent’s investment is unknown, although we can expect Yager to continue operating as of todaya, something that is common in all video game companies that Tencent has bought over the last few years.
During the first five months of 2021, Tencent has invested in 51 video game companies around the world (although most Chinese). But beyond the financial and technological support, the studies that become part of the Chinese giant they do not change their brand image or change their production strategy, something that Niko Partners analysts they call a “silent domination of the global video game industry.”
Yager’s future thanks to Tencent: the Cycle and a secret new game
The current plans of Yager, a company founded in 1999, go through the relaunch of The Cycle, a multiplayer shooter that came out in early access in 2019 but is now close to officially releasing with significant changes. What’s more, They claimed to work on a new game, which for now remains secret.
According to Yager executives, Tencent’s investment was necessary to have the security of being able to continue with the development of The Cycle and that new game. “For us it is very important to be transparent with our employees, not only what is happening, but also why “, explains Timo Ullmann, founder and CEO of Yager. “From an employee point of view, this investment naturally enhances long-term job security. “.
Tencent’s support for Yager, after reviewing the history of the studio and its new projects, is also a sign of confidence towards its work, and a confirmation of the potential of The Cycle. In addition to investment, Yager benefits from professional, technical and commercial exchange with other Tencent studios.
Among the most notorious investments of Tencent recently, especially in the international arena (China remains its main market, although they are increasingly looking at studios from around the world) is full purchase of Riot Games (League of Legends), 84% of Finnish studio Supercell (Clash of Clans and other mobile games derivatives), 48% of Epic Games (Fortnite) and 5% stakes in Activision Blizzard, Paradox and Ubisoft.
Recently, Tencent has taken an interest in other western independent studios, such as the French Dontnod Entertainment (Life is Strange), the Canadian Klei Entertainment (Don’t Starve), the Leyou group, creators of Warframe and Gears Tactics or the Czech Bohemia Interactive ( WEAPON).
Nevertheless, Tencent has not invested in any US company this year, which may be due to geopolitical interests between the two powers. Last May, the US Foreign Investment Committee ordered an investigation into investments in Riot Games and Epic Games, because the use of personal data of Riot and Epic under Chinese ownership could constitute a national danger (as they explain in CNBC).