Chinese internet giant Tencent has apparently invested in Bluehole, the Korean developer behind this summer’s gaming hit PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, according to a report by Jiemian News.
Tencent initially wanted to acquire Bluehole altogether, the report states, but the developer turned the offer down. Neither company has made an official announcement. Dot Esports has reached out to Tencent and Bluehole, but did not receive a response by publication time.
If the report turns out to be true, Tencent will be closer to dominating the gaming and esports market by adding another popular developer to its already large portfolio in the gaming industry. It’s already the parent company to League of Legends developer Riot Games, holds shares in Activision Blizzard, Epic Games, Supercell, and a multitude of other game studios.
To date, PUBG has sold more than five million copies, was watched for more than 60 million hours in July on Twitch alone, and attracted a number of esports powerhouses like TSM, Cloud9, and Team Liquid.
At this month’s gamescom event in Germany, ESL will host PUBG’s first esports tournament. The PUBG Invitational will see professional teams as well as popular streamers and content creators battle over a $350,000 prize pool.
With Tencent possibly backing the most popular battle royale game to date, PUBG—which is still in early access—is off to a great start indeed.
UPDATE 15/08/2017: Bluehole answered to Dot Esports’ request for comment and denied Tencent’s investment. “These reports are not accurate. Tencent didn’t make an investment into Bluehole.”