Rather than boasting the graphical prowess and potential of their Unreal Engine 3 or demanding that more game hardware publishers push the technical limits of what’s currently possible on consoles, Epic Games are making headlines today for another reason. The developer of the massively popular Gears of War franchise has recently sold a minority stake of its business to Chinese Internet company, Tencent Holdings.
Though the terms of the deal were undisclosed, Epic reps have stated that the developer will remain completely independent, stating that the partnership will be used for Epic to “further expand its game franchises across multiple platforms.”
This won’t mark the first time Epic and Tencent have worked together. China’s largest Internet company currently holds a license for the use of Epic’s Unreal Engine technology. Epic’s CEO Tim Sweeney further stated that the partnership will allow Epic to gain a more expansive userbase in China and abroad.
“Tencent has by far the largest gaming customer base in China and really impressive and growing operations throughout the rest of Asia and in South America,” he said. “Basically, wherever Epic is not, Tencent is…in a big way.”
Riot Games, the developer of the ever-popular Action RTS, League of Legends, was acquired by Tencent last year. While Epic looks to expand their clientele, Tencent will also be looking for further business opportunities in the U.S. that will develop an enlarging base of customers. Is it too much to ask for an LoL-style Gears Action RTS in which COG vs. Locust “Champions” are pitted against one another?