Chinese gaming giant Tencent has bought a 70-80% stake in Bohemia Interactive, a Czech developer, making it the company’s largest shareholder,media reported. Tencent spent about $260 million on the project. It is also the latest in a series of Tencent investments in Europe.
In January, Tencent became the company’s largest shareholder by acquiring a 29 per cent stake in Norwegian company Funcom, a developer of the massively multiplayer online RPG game Chaos Online. In February, Tencent took a small stake in Yager, a German gaming company, which is developing a first-person shooter, The Cycle.
It is worth noting that Tencent also acquired Finnish mobile game company Supercell for $8.6 billion in June 2016, making it the largest shareholder in the company.
Czech-based bohemian companies develop military-themed simulation games such as the Armed Raid series and Operation FlashPoint: The Cold War Crisis. The company has also developed free online action games such as Vigor, DayZ and the sandbox game Ylands.
By 2018, Bohemian companies have more than 400 employees in the Czech Republic, Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Thailand. Last year, the company announced gaming sales of $68 million.
Tencent is filling a gap in the PC sandbox market to compete with NetEase, which represents Minecraft, and Tencent does not yet have its own self-released sandbox game, according to Daniel Ahmad, an analyst at Niko Partners. But Tencent partnered with Bohemia in 2018 to become an agent (PC) for Ylands in China.
AhAMD also said Tencent’s gaming expansion in Europe could drive demand for its emerging cloud services in the region. Before the new corona virus, Tencent’s european cloud service chief told U.S. media that they planned to invest $10 billion this year.
In May, Marvelous, a Japanese gaming company, announced on its official website that it was accepting an investment from Tencent, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tencent, Image Frame Investment, which became Marvelous’s largest shareholder (20 percent) through a share acquisition.