TikTok parent company looks to challenge Tencent in mobile gaming

Ruben Fields
January 22, 2020

Bloomberg reports that Bytedance has "rapidly built a full-fledged gaming division to spearhead its maiden foray into hardcore or non-casual games", including acquiring game developers and securing exclusive rights to some games. In the company's new approach, ByteDance is focusing on targeting committed mobile gamers.

Founded by former engineer Zhang Yiming in 2012, ByteDance was valued at US$78 billion a year ago on the back of TikTok's rapid worldwide expansion. Wang Kuiwu, executive over at Perfect World, will be leading the division.

Analysts hope that the emergence of this giant in the video game industry shakes the current state of the mobile market and of course economic capacity and workforce to do so have. Both of these games may release this year globally.

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With WeChat's more than 1 billion monthly active users, Channels could potentially lure influencers and content creators from short-video platforms such as Bytedance's Douyin, known as TikTok internationally, and Tencent-invested Kuaishou, as well as photo-sharing apps. Only time will tell if ByteDance can take videos of people dancing to popular music and translate it into video games. According to industry analyst Daniel Ahmad, ByteDance has the potential to throw a huge spanner in the works of the game space and goes on to label it as a "big disruptor" due to the already huge userbase that's been established over TikTok's lifetime.

Tencent has been increasing its efforts to develop a war chest of valuable entertainment content, especially for mobile games in China, the world's largest smartphone market. The company already owns significant stakes in US-based developers Riot Games, Epic Games, Glu Mobile and Activision Blizzard, as well as South Korean firm CJ Games and Japanese company Aiming. "Its games will probably be of traditional genres and mechanics", he said. The licensing process restarted in December 2018, which resulted in about 1,500 new game titles approved past year.

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