Tencent signs landmark online game deal in US

Tencent signs landmark online game deal in US
Michael French

By Michael French

August 22nd 2013 at 9:42AM

Chinese firm takes over global publishing duties for MOBA Smite from US developer Hi-Rez

The world’s biggest game company was at Gamescom this week to sign a landmark deal for a new online game.

Already owning key strategic studios and IP, such as Riot Games and League of Legends, the publisher has now added a new property to its stable, up-and-coming massively online battle arena Smith, from US studio Hi-Rez.

The free-to-play game's beta has already attracted 2m players - 47 per cent of which are in Europe - and now Tencent has taken over global publishing duties to grow the brand around the world.

At a press event, Tencent and Hi-Rez execs were even on hand to ceremonially sign the contracts for the deal live, clink glasses - and shake on it.

"This is the first time that Tencent games has attended Gamescom in Cologne and we are very excited to establish this strategic cooperation with Hirez and acquire the global publishing right to Smite," said Tencent exec Mars Hou.

"Tencent Games is one of the main source of revenue for Tencent. As the world's leading internet game publisher, Tencent Games has had the highest revenue of any online game company in China four years in a row."

Although not a familiar brand to everyone in the West, Tencent is a massive force in Chinese telecoms, with a market cap over twice that of Google's.

As well as owning Riot Games, it has a large stake in Unreal Engine firm Epic Games.