Czech-based studio Bohemia Interactive — possibly best known as creators of the military simulation series ARMA — are the latest developer to have been snatched up by conglomerate Tencent Holdings, or Tencent for short. The Chinese company have agreed, what the studio describes as, a “strategic minority investment”, or minority stake, in the studio. Bohemia claim it will help the developer bring Ylands — the 2019 sandbox title — to players in China, though the full terms of Tencent’s investment remain unclear.
Like any developer as of late with a minority holding by Tencent, the studio were quick to reassure that Bohemia will remain operating independently, with no changes to the existing management at the company. This comes as but the latest investment by Tencent in a Western or otherwise European-based developer. Last December, Digital Extremes — creators of Warframe — had their Hong Kong-based parent company, Leyou, themselves acquired by Tencent. Digital Extremes stating that the team would remain “creatively independent”. Even a few years back in 2017, a similar sentiment was offered by Frontier — developers of such games as Elite Dangerous and Planet Coaster — when Tencent acquired nearly a 10% stake in the company. And in January, Don’t Starve’s creator Klei Entertainment followed suit with assurances that it would retain “full autonomy” of both its IP and the company’s operation after Tencent acquired a majority stake.
This is but a handful of Tencent’s recent activity over the past few years, concerning the Western hemisphere of the video game industry. A list which includes names like: Riot Games, Funcom, Supercell, Epic and even minor investment in the likes of Ubisoft. While Tencent, according to the developer’s themselves, may not have insisted any form of change so far — either personally or creatively — when it comes to the field of video games, the same can’t be said for other sectors where the company has also offered financial support.