Tencent Holdings and Sony have teamed up to acquire a nearly one-third stake in Ring of Elden developer FromSoftware, the studio’s parent company announced Wednesday.
The deal means that a Tencent subsidiary owns 16.25% of FromSoftware’s shares, while Sony Interactive Entertainment owns 14.09%. The rest is owned by FromSoftware’s parent company, Kadokawa Corporation.
Shanghai-based Tencent is the world’s largest video game provider, largely due to its dominance in the vast Chinese market. He is also well known for taking significant positions in – if not buying outright – big-name publishers and developers outside of China.
Tencent fully acquired League of Legends manufacturer Riot Games at the end of 2015; Norwegian MMO house Funcom in early 2020, a roughly 40% stake in Epic Games in 2012; and he is the majority shareholder of game companies like Supercell (clash of clans), Fatshark(Warhammer: Vermintide 2) and Tequila Works (Deadlight, Rhyme). Tencent also bought 5% of Activision Blizzard in 2013 (freeing that company from Vivendi Universal), but those shares will be bought by Microsoft as part of its $68.7 billion bid for the Call of Duty publisher.
Sony’s investment reflects its continued efforts to acquire or strengthen ties with well-known studios for creating PlayStation games. (FromSoftware is also the creator of the RPG Souls series, starting with the PlayStation 3 exclusive Demon’s Souls in 2009, and made transmitted by blood for Sony in 2015.) In January, the company spent $3.6 billion to acquire Destiny 2 the manufacturer Bungie; acquired Housemarque, maker of the PS5 exclusive Return, mid-2021; and bought Insomniac Games in early 2020. Sony also acquired the Evolution Championship Series of fighting games and anime streaming network Crunchyroll in 2021.
Tencent and FromSoftware’s parent company were already in business together, with Tencent acquiring a stake in subsidiary Kadokawa Animation and Comics in 2016, Kadokawa said in a Wednesday statement.
The statement also mentioned that Sony and FromSoftware “have developed a collaborative business relationship in a wide range of areas” and entered into an agreement in 2021 to “create a new IP address of [Kadokawa/FromSoftware] and maximize the use of its existing intellectual property in the areas of anime and gaming.” In March, FromSoftware said it would focus on developing Ring of Elden as a franchise in media beyond video games, as it touted the game’s sales of 12 million units, a month after launch.
The deal injects 36.4 billion yen (about $262 million) into FromSoftware, Tencent paying about $140 million and Sony $122 million.