Riot Games, Tencent announce joint eSports venture

The two entities will join forces to launch League of Legends, and other, tournaments

As one of the most prolific social companies to ever have come out of China, Tencent knows how to leverage its position. In addition to running the largest social media platform in the country, it has also been involved in social and gambling apps and is now looking to expand into eSports. In order to realize its goal, Tencent has joined up with Riot Games to form a limited partnership to offer a variety of activities in the space.

According to several Chinese sources, Tencent and Riot Games have formed a joint venture that will offer a series of tournaments for League of Legends, as well as other games. They will also collectively work on developing new games and each partner has taken a 50% stake in the new venture.

The company will be led by Jin E-bo, the head of the League of Legends operations for IEG, and the head of Riot Games’ Chinese division, Lin Song. Riot is a subsidiary of Tencent; however, the idea to create a separate entity comes in an effort to maintain separation between both companies and the new operations.

The move is expected to increase the popularity of eSports in China. Some media outlets point out that, since the company will be owned by Tencent, if it becomes too popular, Tencent could ultimately take control of the eSports ecosystem in the country.

Tencent has also acquired a minority stake in a Swedish video game studio, Fatshark, that is behind two Warhammer Vermintide games. The company spent $56.3 million to purchase 36% of the company, giving it a substantial piece of the operations.

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