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Quick Take: Tencent, J.J. Abrams in Gaming Partnership

Photo: VCG
Photo: VCG

Bad Robot, the media vehicle of Hollywood producer, director and writer J.J. Abrams, said it has entered a strategic partnership with Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. to create games spanning mobile, PC and console formats.

Abrams, whose 2015 “Star Wars” film “The Force Awakens” and science fiction TV show “Westworld” are well known among young Chinese, formed Bad Robot in 2001, and the company has found success in science fiction novels.

The new project, called Bad Robot Games, will also have the support of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment as a minority investor. It aims to focus on developing narrative-led games, “leveraging its world-building and storytelling expertise,” the company said in a statement.

Tencent, the company behind the massively popular WeChat messaging and social media app, operates the world’s largest games business by revenue thanks to its dominance in the China market, which generated an estimated $32.5 billion in sales last year, according to data from consultancy Newzoo.

In recent years it has also become a major outbound gaming investor, participating in over $4 of every $10 invested in gaming companies globally in the 12 months ending March 31, according to an industry report from Digi-Capital.

Its biggest investment was in in Finnish mobile game developer Supercell Oy, in which it bought a $8.6 billion controlling stake in June 2016. The company, well-known for its smash-hit “Clash of Clans,” had over 100 million active users across its platforms, Reuters reported in February.

The Bad Robot Games investment continues the growth in Tencent’s international presence following its 369 million euro ($434 million) investment for 5% of French gaming giant Ubisoft Entertainment SA in March. As part of that tie-up, the pair also announced a partnership that will see Tencent bring several of Ubisoft’s PC and mobile games to China.

Contact reporter Ke Dawei (davidkirton@caixin.com)

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