It’s not a rare occurrence for video game developers to be bought by large video game publishers, especially those which make games with mass market appeal.
Such was the case of Obsidian, which was snatched by Microsoft last year, and also Warhorse Studios, which was bought by THQ Nordic in 2018. Warhorse was renowned for its controversial role-playing game Kingdom Come Deliverance, and now another developer with a controversial game in its portfolio is likely to be snapped up by a major publisher.
Actually, Chinese giant Tencent has offered to buy all the shares of Norwegian developer Funcom, as was recently reported on VG247.
Funcom rose to fame and fortune thanks to its controversial online multiplayer game Conan Exiles. The PC version of Conan Exiles stirred a bit of controversy back in 2017 due to it featuring nudity, and a character creation slider which even allowed players to define the size of their genitalia… This aspect of the game was censored when the game made the transition to consoles though. The game also featured over the top violence, plus the possibility of enslaving captured prisoners in its medieval fantasy world.
Speaking about Tencent’s bid, Funcom CEO Ruis Casais was excited about Tencent buying Funcom, highlighting how the Norwegian developer will benefit from its takeover by the Chinese giant.
“We will continue to develop great games that people all over the world will play, and we believe that the support of Tencent will take Funcom to the next level. Tencent will provide Funcom with operational leverage and insights from its vast knowledge as the leading company in the game space”, said Casais.
Funcom also said that Tencent taking over will allow it to be more ambitious with its upcoming game, a multiplayer survival game based on the Dune franchise. This will be the first of three games in the Dune universe after its licensing deal with Legendary Studios last February.
For its part, Tencent said that it was impressed by the company’s strengths in a statement.
“Funcom has a strong track-record in developing new titles with long life span. We are glad to deepen our relationship with Funcom and look forward to collaborating with Funcom to deliver more exciting and enjoyable game experiences to fans worldwide”, said Tencent’s vice president Steven Ma.
Tencent is the largest video game company in the world, with a revenue of almost $20 billion US dollars in 2017.
The Chinese giant also has stakes in Epic Games (the people behind Fortnite), Supercell (makers of Clash of Clans) and Riot Games (the developer behind League of Legends). It also owns part of Ubisoft, and participations in other studios such as Paradox and Frontier.
It remains to be seen, though, whether Tencent’s bid for Funcom will indeed be for good, and whether the Norwegian developer can maintain its identity and keep delivering great multiplayer online games in the future.