Tencent, the lucrative Chinese investment holding firm, is set to launch “WeGame,” a digital storefront for PC games that looks to be a Steam competitor.
The Tencent Games Platform is already extremely successful in China, as it boasts more than 200 million active users, according to Ahmad. WeGame, however, signals Tencent’s hopes for a global reach. It will support users both in China and across the world, feature localizations, and perhaps most importantly, offer a singular storefront. Developers and users will be able to interact on WeGame, although it’s unclear to what extent at this time.
Unlike the CD Projekt owned GOG and EA Origin, Tencent has a realistic chance at dethroning Steam from its top spot in digital games distribution. Not only does Tencent already have a robust user-base in China, but it has taken steps in recent years to expand its reach across wide swaths of the video game industry.
The company owns League of Legends developer Riot Games and Supercell, the mobile developer behind colossal moneymakers such as Clash of Clans and Clash Royale. Tencent has a sizable minority stake in Epic Games, the studio behind the Gears of War franchise, as well as Activision Blizzard. It has quietly become one of the most powerful companies working in video games today, along with being the industry leader in terms of revenue. Tencent is responsible for roughly 13 percent of total video game revenue per year.
Most of its video game revenue, however, has been accrued in Asia, and specifically China. If WeGame, which will bear an almost uncanny resemblance to Steam, becomes a success, Tencent’s growing power in video games could multiply. In the process, WeGame could also displace PC gaming’s most recognized companies in Steam.
WeGame is expected to launch soon.