May 13, 2022

How Tencent is building a global game production system

Tencent is a global tech giant, with stakes in studios and companies like Riot Games, Ubisoft, Activision Blizzard, Supercell, Dontnod Entertainment, Bloober – and more seemingly every month. As they continue to broker strategic partnerships and stakes in companies around the world, the company has grown bigger than industry giants like EA and Nintendo, and has funded some of gaming’s biggest hits. And they aim to transform the global market, says Michelle Liu, CEO of Global.

She spoke to Andrea Rene, COO of What’s Good Games, during a session at GamesBeat Summit 2022 to dive into the company’s current global strategy as their acquisitions continue to roll in and the business continues to grow.

Building a global production system

The main goal of the company is to build a global ecosystem that integrates game development and publishing systems. In part, this means rather than absorbing the studios they acquire, Tencent aims to partner with them.

“We want to collaborate with developers around the world. That’s what we want to build: a worldwide production system,” Liu said. “Based on what we are good at, we are open to collaborating with all the best partners and creating a better ecosystem to explore the new world of the gaming industry.”

It’s a collaborative model built around supporting partner studios around the world in achieving their own growth goals, says Liu. The goal is to help studios establish a solid long-term vision, and then give them the resources and creative autonomy to achieve it.

“Each studio has a unique development history and culture, which we aim to maintain by taking a bespoke approach to collaboration, rather than creating a one-size-fits-all model,” Liu says. “We strongly believe that Tencent has built successful partnerships over the past decade, especially with companies like Riot, Supercell, Epic, etc. In these partnerships, success is self-motivated. The core teams of these companies are clear about what they want to accomplish, whether it’s launching new IP, developing existing IP, or creating new technologies. Tencent’s role is to enable, empower and support with the resources and expertise we have.

Many of these studios have strong ambitions to create next-gen games and IP that are more immersive — and expensive — than anything they’ve created in the past. Tencent offers expertise in mobile development and operations and can support cross-platform efforts. For studios creating live service titles, Tencent has in-house experts who help develop live operations plans and assess content production needs, monetization models, and more. For marketing and publishing initiatives, the company can leverage its global reach, which most developers and studios may struggle to reach on their own. Finally, studios benefit from technical support and solutions such as IT infrastructure and data analysis solutions, as well as access to basic functionalities such as games as a service, online operations direct and esports capabilities.

Explore new models and mechanics

In a thriving gaming industry where change is a constant, Tencent is carrying out many systemic restructurings of the global business to continue to stay on top. This year, they are setting up fully functional local publishing teams to actively manage publishing activities in each local market. This will help them pay more attention to local users and their needs, to fuel both advertising and marketing as well as game development.

They are also creating central functions at headquarters to provide out-of-the-box service capability and support to regional teams, as well as new ways to reach users through media and channels to connect them directly to products and to game content and more. freely. This includes leveraging esports not just as a marketing channel, but as a source of new creative content for users.

Local teams have struggled during the pandemic, Liu says, but they have bolstered their resources and, with the support of the headquarters team, they are making a lot of progress. They have seen a lot of success online for physical events and esports tournaments, with positive feedback from users. The new approach has unlocked more opportunities to explore.

“The gaming industry is constantly changing. Users are changing. Product content is changing. And yes, media are changing,” Liu said. There are always good opportunities for us to explore new models and new mechanics that we can apply. We are facing a lot of changes and we are still thinking about them.