Update: Bluehole has confirmed that no investment was been made in the company, issuing the following statement to the press: “These reports are not accurate. Tencent didn't make an investment into Bluehole.”
Original Story: Chinese tech investment holdings giant Tencent is understood to be backing Bluehole Studio, publisher of the wildly popular PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds.
Citing an "informed source," Chinese language website Jiemian News reported via Yicai Global that Tencent invested an undisclosed amount in Bluehole after an acquisition bid was rejected.
An investment in Bluehole would be a significant move on the eSports space for Tencent, which is already the parent company to League of Legends outfit Riot Games, and has Activision Blizzard in its shares portfolio.
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds - referred to by players as PUBG - has enjoyed striking growth since launch. Only last week it emerged that PUBG had courted over 500,000 concurrent players, putting it behind only Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 on Steam. Although it is still in Early Access, PUBG's sales have surpassed 4 million copies.
The investment would reflect Tencent's increasing interest in eSports, with the Shenzhen-based giant recently making a number of moves around mobile competitive gaming. Indeed, its mobile MOBA Honour of Kings has just launched as Arena of Valor in Europe, having already amassed a player-base equivalent to the population of Germany elsewhere.
That game alone is expected to help boost Tencent's quarterly revenue by about 50 percent, after proving so popular in China that restrictions on play-time were enforced for its younger users. According to Reuters, Tencent is expected to see a second-quarter revenue of $7.9 billion.
GamesIndustry.biz has reached out to Tencent for comment and confirmation.