Klei Entertainment, developers of indie hits Don’t Starve and Oxygen Not Included have announced today that they’ve agreed for Tencent, the media conglomerate that’s been doing quite a lot of buying, to purchase a majority stake in the company. Klei founders say that they will keep “full autonomy of creative and operations across all aspects of the studio”.
Klei made the announcement today in a post where they explain why they chose Tencent and what they believe 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.”
Klei also mention that Chinese company Tencent helped them launch Don’t Starve Together in China in 2016 and have assisted with other Chinese launches since then, noting that players in China make up a large portion of their players. “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,” they say.
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It’s a similar statement—about retaining creative control—to that of Splash Damage and Digital Extremes when their parent company Leyou was acquired by Tencent at the end of December.
Over the years Tencent have acquired the likes of Riot Games, Funcom, Splash Damage, and Digital Extremes while buying stakes of various sizes in Epic Games, Ubisoft, Frontier Developments, Activision Blizzard, Paradox Interactive, Grinding Gear Games, and more.
It may not be inherently bad, but consolidation of the games industry continues to be something we all ought to have an eye on.