Tencent announced today their partnership with The Pokemon Company to publish a game based on the globally-megapopular monster catching franchise. (Pokemon. We’re talking about Pokemon.) One Tencent’s many internal developers, TiMi Studio Group, will develop the game for the Chinese mobile market.
This is the first partnership between Tencent and The Pokemon Company, and unfortunately, there’s not much more to know about it at this point. The press release simply states that the partnership will result in a new Pokemon game for mobile devices in China, as developed by Tencent subsidiary TiMi Studio Group. There’s no word yet on if the game will eventually make its way to the West, or even what the new game is really. Given the success of Pokemon GO, we can speculate that it might be some form of AR-based collect ’em all situation, but with Pokemon Masters right around the corner, TiMi Studio Group could also be headed in more of a gacha direction.
TiMi Studio Group is primarily known for developing the mobile MOBA Arena of Valor, as well as its China-only predecessor Honor of Kings, which remains one of China’s most lucrative games. Arena of Valor came out in the United States in 2017 for mobile devices, followed up by a release on the Nintendo Switch in 2018, but its western popularity never approached the level of success that Honor of Kings held in its native China. (Of course, given that Tencent also owns Riot Games wholesale, we figure its not too disappointed in how much MOBA money it makes globally.)
— Yui Nausicaa (@yuinausicaa) July 22, 2019
This isn’t The Pokemon Company’s first foray into the Chinese mobile market — 2018’s free-to-start mobile/Nintendo Switch game Pokemon Quest was announced for China last May, as part of a separate partnership with Chinese developer NetEase, who also runs all of Blizzard’s online service games in China. This new venture with TiMi Studio Group is, however, the first mobile Pokemon game developed specifically for China, so who knows what it may end up being. With TiMi Studio Group’s MOBA pedigree, it would be uniquely positioned to transform traditional Pokemon battles into that sort of real-time format. We can also see a world where this partnership results in the very first Pokemon autochess game, which, now that we’ve thought of it, is something we desperately want to exist.
For transparency’s sake, know that Tencent is our parent company’s parent company. We deem it appropriate to cover Tencent news, despite our affiliation, due to the fact that Tencent also owns an enormous percentage of the games industry as a whole — if we were to avoid topics somehow related to Tencent, we wouldn’t be able to competently cover the happenings of the video game industry.
Tencent owns a majority/minority stake numerous studios and properties, including full ownership of League of Legends and Teamfight Tactics developer Riot Games. It also owns 40 percent of Epic Games, plus a significant portion of PUBG Corp.’s parent company Bluehole, just to cover its bases. All of which is to say nothing of its five percent ownership of Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft, and Paradox Interactive, so right now it’s very, very difficult to touch something in video games that isn’t, in some way, related to our parent company’s parent company.
Fanbyte Editor in Chief John Warren contributed additional reporting to this piece.