Riot Games has already told fans that they’d be improving League of Legends with a series of major updates next year, but that’s not the only change planned.
On Tuesday, the Californian games studio quietly announced that it was now completely owned by Tencent, an economic giant from China. Tencent first bought a majority share in Riot Games back in 2011.
The news was broken in a post written for Riot Games’ employees, which explained that, now that the company was fully owned by Tencent, rewards schemes for workers and contributors would be streamlined.
Tencent’s move to acquire the studio centres around the lucrative mutliplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game League of Legends. Released in 2009, SuperData research estimates the game made well over $1 billion last year, and indicates that it’s a key driver of e-sport reaching a viewer base of over 130 million.
Riot Games previously announced its plans to introduce a major update to the popular game in 2016, revealing it would be making changes to gameplay, improving interactivity with other players and overhauling the MOBA’s web client.
Tencent, meanwhile, is one of China’s big three Internet companies — referred to as BAT, they consist of Tencent, Baidu (China’s equivalent of Google), and e-commerce behemoth Alibaba. It’s mostly known by consumers for its WeChat messenger and QQ.com web portal, two widely used services in China.
The Chinese conglomerate also owns 40 percent of Gears of War developer Epic Games and is a significant shareholder in Blizzard Activision.