Tencent Buys Ninjala Developer As Expansion Continues

Published: November 11, 2021 10:59 AM /


Some artwork of Ninjala, the developer of which has been purchased by Tencent

Chinese gaming giant Tencent has made yet another acquisition. This time around, Tencent has purchased Wake Up Interactive, the parent company of Ninjala developer Soleil. The deal is reportedly worth around 5 billion yen.

What do we know about this new Tencent purchase?

This news comes to us via Bloomberg. Though the deal hasn't been made public yet, Bloomberg cites "people familiar with the deal" as saying that the transaction is worth 5 billion yen, which is the equivalent of about $44 million. If you haven't played Ninjala, which was solely developed by Soleil, then you may know the studio's name from co-development work on 2019's Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes. Soleil also worked on last year's Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time and 2018's Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker.

Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes, a game worked on by new Tencent acquisition Soleil
You might know Soleil from its co-development work on the characteristically odd Suda51 game Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes.

According to Bloomberg, Tencent has acquired a 90% stake in Wake Up Interactive. It's not entirely unusual for the company to buy majority stakes; it did so for Klei Entertainment earlier this year, after all. Usually, however, the Chinese gaming giant makes smaller investments, as with Vampyr and Life Is Strange developer Dontnod. We'll have to wait and see what Tencent's ownership of Wake Up and Soleil yields.

Tencent is making inroads into the global gaming market

This latest acquisition would seem to be part of a bigger expansion strategy for Tencent. Recently, Tencent announced an investment in From Software's parent company Kadokawa. It's also got its fingers in pies as diverse as Epic Games, League of Legends developer Riot Games, and mobile giant Supercell. Given that Tencent can claim the world's first ten-billion-dollar mobile game, it's no wonder the company is making all of these investments; it likely has the cash to throw around. 

Fortnite, the most famous game by Tencent investment Epic Games
Tencent's many and varied investments include Fortnite giant Epic Games, among others.

Things may not remain rosy for the gaming titan for long, though. In recent months, Chinese premier Xi Jinping has made threatening overtures towards what he sees as the encroachment of capitalism on China. As a result, Tencent's stock plummeted back in August, with many fearing that the company would suffer due to Xi's strategy. In addition, many Chinese developers and publishers pledged to ramp up self-regulation in September after the state-owned People's Daily described gaming as "spiritual opium".

Whether or not Xi Jinping and the Beijing government's strategy negatively affects Tencent remains to be seen. One thing's for sure, though; the gaming giant isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Ninjala may not be a runaway success, but it's something of a sleeper hit, garnering eight million downloads to date and netting a Sonic the Hedgehog crossover in the process. Between that and other Tencent successes like Pokemon Unite (another free-to-play Switch title), Tencent is looking more and more unstoppable. We'll bring you more on this as we get it.

What do you think of Tencent buying up Ninjala's developer? Let us know in the comments below!


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