According to the agreement, Sony Interactive Entertainment now holds 14.09% of FromSoftware’s shares, while a Tencent subsidiary controls 16.25% of them. The parent company of FromSoftware, Kadokawa Corporation, owns the remainder.
Shanghai-based Due in large part to its domination within China’s enormous market, Tencent is the largest video game retailer in the world. It is also well recognised for investing heavily in, if not outright purchasing, renowned publishers and developers outside of China.
At the end of 2015, Tencent fully acquired Riot Games, the developer of League of Legends. At the beginning of 2020, it acquired Norwegian MMO developer Funcom. In 2012, it acquired a roughly 40% stake in Epic Games. Tencent is also the majority shareholder in gaming firms like Supercell (Clash of Clans), Fatshark (Warhammer: Vermintide 2), and Tequila Works (Deadlight, Rime). Additionally, Tencent purchased 5% of Activision Blizzard in 2013 (releasing it from Vivendi Universal), but Microsoft will acquire those shares as part of its $68.7 billion offer for the Call of Duty producer.
Sony’s investment is a reflection of its continued efforts to partner with or buy firms known for producing PlayStation games. (FromSoftware also developed the Souls series of role-playing games, which debuted in 2009 with Demon’s Souls for the PlayStation 3 and continued with Bloodborne for Sony in 2015.) Insomniac Games was purchased at the start of 2020, while Bungie, the developer of the PS5 exclusive Returnal, was acquired by the business in January for $3.6 billion. In 2021, Sony also purchased the Evolution Championship Series for fighting games and the Crunchyroll anime streaming service.
Tencent and the parent company of FromSoftware were already partners in business; in 2016, Tencent bought a share in the Kadokawa Animation and Comics division, according to Kadokawa’s statement on Wednesday.
The statement also mentioned that Sony and FromSoftware “have developed a collaborative business relationship across a wide range of areas,” and in 2021 entered into an agreement with the goal of “creating new IP of [Kadokawa/FromSoftware] and maximizing the utilization of its existing IP in anime and game fields.” In March, FromSoftware said it would focus on developing Elden Ring as a franchise in media beyond video games, as it touted the game’s sales of 12 million units, one month after launch.
Tencent and Sony each contributed about $140 million to the acquisition, which gives FromSoftware 36.4 billion yen (about $262 million).