Tencent is the world’s largest gaming company. But have you actually heard of them before now? Tencent is huge in China, but most of their fame in the west comes from owning various game studios built here, who often bring translated versions of Tencent’s games to the west under their own banner.
Tencent is described by Wikipedia as “a Chinese investment holding company whose subsidiaries provide media, entertainment, payment systems, internet and mobile phone value-added services and operate online advertising services.” So how did this company, established in 1998 and worth over $330 billion, become the largest gaming company in the world?
Let’s go back to the year of 2009. This year brought a lot of changes for those in the west. This was the first year of Obama’s presidency, the middle of a really bad financial downturn the world over, and the beginning of a little game known as League of Legends. Riot Games was founded in 2006 and launched League of Legends, the beginning of the popular MOBA genre (originated by the Warcraft 3 mod Defense of the Ancients), in 2009. The game quickly become one of the most played games in the world, making roughly $1 billion a year through in-game purchases. This figure caught the eye of Tencent, who invested $231 million for a nearly 70% stake in Riot in 2011. By the end of 2015, Riot was wholly owned by Tencent.
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Hardcore games on mobile may still live on after the Kabam buyout. Their oldest rival, Kixeye has finally launched what may be the best looking game on mobile devices now, War Commander: Rogue Assault. The game looks to offer a level of gameplay not yet achieved on smartphones and tablets.
To top this all off, the game’s creative director was none other than Louis Castle, the co-creator of Command & Conquer, meaning this game has some real pedigree behind it. The game has been in development for 3 years with 2 and a half years of soft launches to refine the experience.
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Everyone remembers QuizUp, right? The quiz app launched as a Trivial Pursuit-esque game where you could level up categories by correctly answering questions about them in battle with other players. Well, after Plain Vanilla’s contract with NBC for a QuizUp game show was canceled, the game has a new owner.
Earlier this year, Glu invested $7.5 million in the company, with the option to buy the entire business in the future. Now, the studio is willing to forgive that debt, and throw in $1.2 million, to own the company outright. It is not known how many employees will make the jump to Glu, as Plain Vanilla has laid off their staff before looking for a buyer.
The condition to the debt forgiveness was that QuizUp be published under the Glu banner before the end of March, but this event has already occurred in both the App Store and Google Play store. As part of the deal, Glu CEO Nick Earl has been appointed to Plain Vanilla’s board as a class II director and will work with the company’s Strategy Committee to plan for the future of Glu in Iceland.
The end of 2016 marks the end of the first six months of Pokemon Go’s existence. To celebrate, Niantic is announcing some statistics on the game. The main stat of interest is that players have walked over 8.7 billion kilometers, enough to circle the globe 200,000 times.
Another state: 88 billion. That’s the number of wild Pokemon that have been caught. As much of the United States is entering colder months, it’d be a surprise to see these numbers continue to grow. To keep players interested, Niantic has boosted rural spawn rates and added baby Pokemon that can only be obtained by walking to hatch eggs.
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Today, Crytek announced the closure of five of their seven studios, refocusing the company on “premium IPs” and CryEngine. Roberts Space Industries, the developers of Star Citizen, aren’t worried. They’re using a modified version of the CryEngine, but say the closures will not have an impact on their game.
The studio said they do not rely upon Crytek for anything at this point and the company’s focus is on the upcoming single player version of the game, the first part of which is titles Squadron 42.
Atlus, best known for Persona and Shin Megami Tensei, is working on a new fantasy RPG series. The details will be revealed this week, but we do know it’s being developed by the team behind Persona 5. The game will be revealed at 6 a.m. ET on December 23rd on a NicoNico livestream.
Studio Zero is a new studio within Atlus with some impressive credentials. Katsura Hashino, Persona 5’s director, and other talented Atlus employees are part of the studio working on this unnamed game.
We’ve talked before about the issues going on at Cryek. After a year of paying salaries late (October’s salaries were just paid this week), big changes are coming to the company. The company announced they are closing studios in Budapest, Hungary; Sofia, Bulgaria; Seoul, Korea; Shanghai, China; and Istanbul, Turkey in order to “refocus on its core strengths of developing innovative games and game-development technology.”
Crytek now only has their studios in Frankfurt, Germany and Kiev, Ukraine. In a news release, a spokesperson for Crytek said they are working to “put plans into action to secure jobs and to ensure a smooth transition and stable future” for all affected employees. Rumors of a sale of the Black Sea studio in Sofia may not happen, as nothing is being announced.
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