Chinese gaming giant Tencent is preparing to rebrand its digital store, which indicates a move to compete with Steam in the global market. This was revealed by Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad on Twitter earlier this week, and it’s seen as a huge deal considering Steam is monopolizing the global digital games market. With that said, Ahmad commented later on that Tencent might not be competing with Steam outside of China at this point.
In case you are unaware who Tencent is, they are the pioneers of the digital game store in China, as the company currently owns Tencent Gaming Platform, which is their own version of Steam. They might not be as well known in the western market compared to China, but they are certainly one of the biggest game companies in the world, with stakes in Epic, Activision Blizzard, Glu Mobile, and others. It also owns League of Legend studios Riot Games and mobile game giant Supercell, which significantly contributed to their 2016 fiscal year earnings of $22 billion.
This is why the rebranding move is major in terms of dictating the direction of the global digital games market, as Tencent clearly has the financial capabilities to outmuscle Steam with “WeGame”, a digital store that has "support for both Chinese and Global users”. The current Tencent Gaming Platform also has more users, with 200 million to Steam's 125 million.
Despite the interesting turn of events, Niko Partners retracted Ahmad’s earlier speculations with an official statement, saying his information "came from a slide he saw on Tencent's Chinese website, which did not state global expansion of WeGame as part of the rebranding”. The analyst also told Motherboard recently that he doesn’t think Tencent will move out from China to compete with Steam at this point. "Right now, Tencent is focusing on growing the platform in China and bringing as many games, both local and foreign, to Chinese gamers," said Ahmad.
This doesn’t mean that it won’t happen, but we’ll definitely find out more about Tencent’s plans when they make the official announcement about the rebranding tomorrow, which will have pretty big implications if they are intending to go all-out with Steam.
Source: PC Gamer