Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Epic Games lands investment from Chinese Firm

Epic Games, the Cary-based developer of the $1 billion "Gears of War" videogame franchise, is gearing up for future growth by taking on its first outside investor.

Tencent Holdings, a Hong Kong-based Internet and telecommunications company, has bought a minority stake in the closely held private company. Tencent supports the largest online community in China.
Financial terms were not disclosed.

Epic "will continue to operate independently," the company said in a statement. “Tencent’s investment will empower Epic to help us do even more of what we do best, which is making great games and game technology," said Epic President Dr. Michael Capps in a statement.

"Their expertise in the global online gaming market is second-to-none, and the opportunity to work with them to bring richer experiences to players all over the world is irresistible,” he added. “Epic is excited to be full steam ahead on all of its current plans for this generation of games and the next, with the support of a fantastic partner that believes in our strategy and shares our dream.”

Epic recently announced plans for another title in the Gears franchise - its fourth. The company also developed Unreal, one of the world's most popular videogame development engines. Now a publisher of mobile games for Apple's iOS system, Epic operates subsidiaries in Utah and Europe. It also plans to open a studio in Baltimore in the near future.

The investment is expected to close within a month.

“We've developed a huge amount of respect for the Epic team for many years now, as dedicated players of Epic's games and as licensees of Epic's Unreal Engine technology. Epic's deep commitment to quality across all of its games and technologies inspires us. They've been raising expectations in gaming for two decades now and they're just getting started,” said David Wallerstein, senior executive vice president of Tencent. “We have a lot that we can learn from each other, and we look forward to supporting the Epic team as they embark on their next phase of gaming innovation across both emerging and familiar platforms.”

Tencent is a publicly traded company, its shares being listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange. Its revenue comes from Internet value-added services, mobile and telecommunications services, online advertising and e-commerce.

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