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"We have found ourselves at a loss as our competitors continue to produce new products."

Chris Kerr

January 30, 2024

2 Min Read
Tencent HQ in China
Image via Tencent

Tencent, the sprawling multinational that spent years gobbling up studios like Riot Games and Techland while investing in others including Ubisoft, Remedy, and FromSoftware, has chastized itself for becoming a passenger during 2023.

As reported by Reuters, Tencent CEO and co-founder Pony Ma indicated the company has been coasting along while its major competitors have been rolling out global hits.

Speaking at the company's annual meeting, Ma reiterated that video games remain Tencent's flagship business but suggested the company "achieved nothing" in the market over the past year.

"Gaming is our flagship business [...] but in the past year, we have faced significant challenges. We have found ourselves at a loss as our competitors continue to produce new products, leaving us feeling having achieved nothing," he said.

Tencent playing "catchup" on AI

Ma added that some of Tencent's latest releases have failed to meet internal expectations, but didn't specify which titles underwhelmed. He also suggested the company was until recently playing catch-up when it comes to AI tech, but is now able to "follow the pace" of leading rivals.

Ma said Tencent should be focused on leveraging its own 'Hunyuan' generative AI model across various businesses. It's unclear if that means the company's internal game studios will be encouraged to lean on the technology.

Tencent has been grappling with tightening playtime and spending regulations in China, resulting in the company investing in more western studios. In 2023 alone, Tencent became the majority shareholder of Dying Light maker Techland, sunk cash into new startups like Lighthouse Games, and led a $10 million investment into fitness game maker Quell.

More recently, however, Tencent subsidiary Riot Games laid off 530 workers after claiming it scaled up too quickly and overreached with a number of "big bets."

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About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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