Tencent is one of the key names in the global gaming and esports industry and the company has shown that they are in the business “for the long haul” after their latest round of investments, according to one game industry analyst.
Chundi Zhang commented that the latest round of investments from Tencent, accompanied by the earlier investments by the company showed that it had a clear long-term vision for the future of the esports industry.
“Tencent’s investing in esports for the long haul because it breaks the boundaries between different businesses,” explained Mr. Zhang.
Bigger Than The NBA
As the key player in the Asian gaming and esports market, Tencent has high hopes for the esports and esports betting industry. It’s vision is that one day Esports gaming will be comparable in size, scope, and popularity to the NBA.
That lofty ambition is not unrealistic, especially when you consider almost the same number of people tuned in to watch the League of Legends World Championship finals (hosted by Tencent) as the six games that made up the 2020 NBA Finals.
However, what is interesting in this latest round of investment is that Tencent is not just looking at investing in other esports companies, but also in the company’s games and the players that play them.
“Vehicle of Art and Entertainment”
Tencent’s plan is to improve the quality and amount of online entertainment available surrounding esports tournament gaming, rather than simply bringing the streams of the live games themselves. Therefore, investing in players and teams gives the company a chance to increase the types of shows it can produce.
The aim is for there to eventually be a whole host of original content running alongside the live tournament streams for League of Legends in China. This could even include reality shows that will feature some of the star players and teams that compete at the highest level in China in League of Legends.
“Esports is like the Super Bowl, which isn’t just a sports event but also a vehicle of art and entertainment,” explained TJ Sports co-CEO Leo Lin.
“We are going for the direction of connecting esports with our games and wider entertainment business.”
Warning To Curb Excess
The news of Tencent’s latest round of investment comes quickly on the heels of the company being one of 34 tech companies warned by the Chinese government to curb their excess in what was an Antitrust Review.
Prosecutors imposed a record fine on one tech company, Alibaba for what it termed an “abuse of market dominance”.
In addition to that, it has warned companies like Tencent to rectify their anti-competitive practices within the next month or so.
Tencent has also committed to improving the business infrastructure in the Indonesia and Asian region by opening its first data centre in Indonesia in the past week.
The centre is located in Jakarta and it is something that is very much needed in the region, according to Senior Vice President Poshu Yeung.
“Given that its population structure is younger, it has a huge internet demographic dividend and its mobile internet market is quickly developing. We are excited to launch our first Tencent Cloud data centre in Indonesia to help the country fully reach the peak of its cloud computing potential.”
It is abundantly clear that Tencent is driving huge growth across several Asian markets both in terms of access and investment in esports businesses, teams, and players. However, with a rap on the knuckles from Chinese legislators, while Tencent’s investment will likely continue, the company will need to work hard to make sure it is viewed by Chinese authorities as not being anti-competitive.