China-based mega-company Tencent Holdings has reached an agreement with Bluehole Studio to officially bring PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds to China, which is a significant contributing factor to Tencent becoming more valuable than Facebook.
I know it’s Friday and no-one really wants to think too hard about anything, but this action has had far-reaching consequences in the games industry, and it’s worth having a look at. Even if it’s just so that you can sound smart when you talk to your dad over dinner tonight. See, Naspers is one of the biggest listed companies on the JSE, with around a 5th of our stock exchange’s total market value, and Naspers owns a large portion of Tencent – 34.4%, to be precise. Tencent’s recent surge has been enough to see Naspers’s share price rally to an all-time high of R4,100.02.
This might sound irrelevant to you. But I owned Naspers shares some time ago. When it was around R500 a share. Can you hear my tears dripping onto my keyboard?
Anyway, my woes aside, China is the world’s biggest gaming market in terms of game revenue, and PUBG is quite possibly the hottest property right now, so getting Bluehole Studio’s game into that market is bound to show huge returns for Tencent. The biggest hurdle, though, is the tough regulations keeping check on the Chinese gaming industry.
The fact that it’s Tencent’s weight behind PUGB should make it easier to cut through the red tape. There had been concerns of an outright ban – China’s media censor, State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film & Television, moaned that it “deviates from the socialist core values, traditional Chinese culture and moral norms” – but Tencent should be able to get around that.
“We will further highlight the teamwork and fair play spirit, making sure it’s in accordance with socialist core values and traditional Chinese cultures and moral norms,” Tencent said in a statement earlier this week, according to the South China Morning Post.
In other words, they may have to rework much of the game to make sure it complies with the stringent rules in place to keep Chinese gaming suitably… Chinese.
If there’s a lesson to be taken from all this, it’s this: if you bought Naspers shares ten years ago, you should have kept them. And then bought a Lamborghini this weekend. Also, considering that Tencent owns parasitic properties like Clash Royale might be a little worrying for the future of PUBG, but we’ll have to keep the faith that Bluehole will stick to their guns and make sure their game stays awesome.