It appears that Chinese gaming giant Tencent has been doing a lot of shopping, and by shopping, we meant purchasing stakes in the company. Recently, Klei Entertainment, the developers of indie hits Don’t Starve, Oxygen Not Included, Mark of the Ninja, and Griftlands, have revealed that they’ve sold a majority stake of the studio to Tencent.
Klei’s founders say that as part of this agreement, the founders will have “full autonomy of creative and operations across all aspects of the studio.”
In a post, Klei explained why they accepted Tencent’s offer and how the partnership will help them achieve. “We looked at a lot of different companies, and over the years, we’ve worked with a large number of publishers and distributors. Tencent is the only company that we felt would let us retain the level of control that we demand. We’ve been working with Tencent for years, and even at points where we disagreed, they were always willing to work with us to find the best solution for everybody involved and defer to us when we felt strongly.”
Founder Jaime “Bigfoot” Cheng said, “helps us navigate a changing industry and helps us focus on what we do best: making unique experiences that no one else can. There are some boring accounting changes that we will need to adjust to. Other than that, I will continue running the studio as before, with no changes to staffing, projects, or other operations.”
Cheng commented, “Players in China make up a large proportion of the players of our games, and we have been supporting them alongside our North American operation for several years. We don’t expect significant operational changes for China or anywhere else in the world, but we do expect that this partnership will help us to better support our players in China.”
Tencent is China’s largest technology company and a gaming powerhouse. The tech conglomerate owns studio Riot Games, makers of League of Legends, and happens to have a 40 percent stake in Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite.
Furthermore, it also holds minority stakes in Activision, Paradox Interactive, Ubisoft, Frontier Developments, Fatshark, Funcom, and many others. According to available reports, as of 2020, Tencent has investments in 31 gaming companies.
Klei Entertainment also mentioned that Tencent was behind the Don’t Starve Together game’s Chinese launch in 2016. Since then, the company has helped them with Chinese releases affirming that Chinese gamers constitute a huge portion of their players.