China’s most valuable Internet company, Tencent, is continuing its invasion into the U.S. gaming market in a big way today. Epic Games, maker of popular titles like Gears of War, announced today that Tencent has made a strategic minority investment in the company.
Tencent already had a preexisting relationship with Epic as a licensee of its Unreal Engine, the most popular 3D gaming engine on the market. The deal is expected to close within one month. Terms were not disclosed.
The investment follows Tencent’s $400 million investment in Riot Games last year, a U.S.-based online game company. With the Epic deal, it’s clear that Tencent is aiming to get its fingers into even more aspects of the gaming market. Epic recently showed off Unreal Engine 4, a stunning upgrade to its gaming engine meant for next-generation consoles and high-end PCs.
Epic says that it will continue to operate independently following the completion of the Tencent deal. At this point, it’s unclear how Tencent’s investment will help the U.S. gaming company, but I suspect we’ll hear more when the deal closes.