Czech gaming studio Bohemia Interactive has denied a report that Chinese media conglomerate Tencent has purchased a majority stake in the company.
Speaking to Hospodářské Noviny newspaper, head of marketing Petr Poláček said: “Tencent didn’t buy us. Bohemia Interactive remains an independent studio. We don’t know where this information came from.”
This follows report yesterday from The Infomation that Tencent paid around $260m for a 70-80% stake in the studio behind games such as DayZ and Arma 3.
Bigger picture: The report — while denied — does speak to a wider frenzy of activity around Tencent and European gaming. In face, it’s getting harder and harder to find a video game maker in Europe or elsewhere that isn’t at least part-owned by Tencent, which is the world’s largest games company in revenue terms.
Tencent — which is also a major force in social media, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity — has a majority stake in Finland’s Supercell and a minority stake in Sweden’s Paradox Interactive. Earlier this year, it spent $201m buying control of Norway’s Funcom and an undisclosed amount for a minority stake in German studio Yager. Outside Europe, it has stakes in Grinding Gear Games, Epic Games, Glu Mobile, Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft.
The market backdrop is, firstly, that gaming has been booming during the coronavirus lockdown, accelerating a broader trend in the sector. Tencent wants to be a global leader. Also important to understand is that Tencent is making a push to fend off NetEase, its biggest rival in China on the gaming front, which is about to raise $3bn in a public listing in Hong Kong.