Tencent launches new U.S. game studio for global appeal

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Tencent Holdings, China’s biggest social media and video game company, launched a new California-based studio this week, as it looks to further expand its presence overseas.

FILE PHOTO: A Tencent sign is seen at the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China, Oct. 20, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

The new studio, LightSpeed LA, will be led by former Rockstar veteran Steve Martin and will focus on the development and publishing of AAA titles, Tencent Games’ LightSpeed and Quantum Studios said in a statement to Reuters.

“We’re ushering in a new era of game culture by combining world-class development with a stress-free work environment,” Martin said in the statement.

Tencent is trying to build an array of studios overseas with the goal of creating content with original intellectual property that has global appeal.

The launch is also the firm’s latest move in a strategy to derive half its games revenue from overseas, a category that accounted for about 23% of its fourth-quarter online game sales.

The company has most recently hired Halo 4 lead designer Scott Warner to head another newly-minted new studio grouped under TiMi Studios, the maker of Arena of Valor and Call of Duty: Mobile.

Tencent is also the owner of League of Legends creator Riot Games, and has majority control of Clash of Clans maker Supercell.

The new studio in Orange County has hired creative talent from Rockstar Games, Sony VASG, Respawn Entertainment, 2K Games, and Insomniac.

Last week, Tencent unveiled plans for more than 40 game products, from a release of Mobile Dungeon & Fighter to an unnamed Metal Slug mobile game in partnership with SNK Corp.

It also announced a cross-platform Pokemon team battling game running on Nintendo Co Ltd’s Switch console and on mobile.

Shares of Tencent Holdings soared more than 8% this week to a historic high of HK$521 after the announcement of the new games.

Reporting by Pei Li; Editing by Clarence Fernandez