As Tencent does, the Chinese multi-specialty internet-focused mega-corporation has slipped in and acquired a large share of yet another game studio. This time, it’s RPG publisher Funcom. The Chinese company acquired all of the shares previously held by KGJ Capital AS. This amounts to about 29% of the shares in Funcom, the largest stake held by any one group in the game studio and publisher.
Norway-based Funcom joins some solid company as one of many with huge shares held by Tencent. Most notably, they own about 40% of Epic Games, the publisher of Fortnite and the controversial Epic Games Store. Tencent owns pretty much all of League of Legends publisher Riot, which makes sense given League‘s popularity in China. Tencent also has stakes in Activision-Blizzard, Ubisoft, Supercell, Paradox Interactive and more. In short, Tencent’s doing its damnest to get a piece of major names in the industry.
Funcom, which published their first games in 1994, has a history of cult online classics. Most notably, Anarchy Online has been a massive underground hit since its launch in 2001. Economies and factions appear to have been maintained by players over time. Funcom also launched a new “classic” server this past February, with level caps and expansions rolling in over time.
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Right now, Funcom is most known for turn-based RPG Mutant Year Zero and their open-world multiplayer sandbox Conan Exiles. Funcom maintains Secret World Legends, formerly known as The Secret World, an urban fantasy horror MMORPG that became free-to-play in 2017. They were similarly responsible for Age of Conan, a Conan-themed MMORPG. They also published the cult hitThe Longest Journey, which spawned the Dreamfall series thereafter.
Funcom is also undertaking one of the biggest dares in media: a DUNE adaptation, paying homage to the classic graphic novel. They’re working alongside Legendary Pictures, responsible for the upcoming DUNE flick, to make an open-world sandbox RPG. Funcom has exclusive rights to develop interactive media, for both PC and console, for the IP for the next six years.
The Norwegian development studio has had its ups and downs over the years, with a mix of commercial failures and successes. If a super-corp as big as Tencent has come in, perhaps there’s some glimmer of hope for the company’s future.
Full disclosure: Fanbyte is owned by Tencent Holdings. But while we ethically need to do this disclaimer, we’re editorially independent from Tencent, so we’re not beholden to our corporate overlords too much. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯