Klei Entertainment, the developer best known for the indie survival hit Don’t Starve, has heeded a lot of offers over the years from publishers looking to invest. However, on Friday founder Jamie Cheng announced it finally found one in Tencent, the Chinese multimedia conglomerate.
In a forum post, Cheng — under his handle Bigfoot — announced that Tencent had acquired a majority stake in the company, but that Klei would be retaining “full autonomy of creative and operations across all aspects of the studio.”
The two companies have a history. Klei previously worked with Tencent to distribute Don’t Starve Together, the co-op version of the survival game, in China. The game launched on the WeGame platform. They also worked together to distribute Don’t Starve: Newhome on mobile.
Cheng stresses that nothing will change from a consumer standpoint. The reason he gives for the deal is that Tencent would allow Klei to work with a certain level of control.
“We’ve been working with Tencent for years and even at points where we disagreed, they were always willing to work with us to find the best solution for everybody involved and defer to us when we felt strongly,” he wrote.
He also noted that Klei will still maintain control over all IP. “Tencent has shown real respect to us and consistently deferred to us in what and how to present our work,” he added.
Tencent is a huge name in gaming, particularly in China. It has investments in a lot of studios, including Riot, Funcom, Activision-Blizzard, Epic Games, Paradox Interactve, PlatinumGames, and more. On its own, it’s probably best known for WeGame, a gaming platform in China, and WeChat, a popular messaging app. It’s a conglomerate also with stakes in movies, TV, streaming, e-commerce, and more.
However, few of these gaming deals are majority stakes, which makes the Klei deal so unique (although it does fully own Riot Games and a few others). It’s unclear from the post, though, how much of a stake Tencent officially has.
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