Chinese mega-conglomerate Tencent, who owns a 40% share in Epic Games, have released their own game store outside of China for the first time with surprisingly little fanfare.
The store is known as WeGame in its native China but goes by WeGame X for international audiences and has a downloadable client available now for early access. The service also requires your phone number and can only be used by those over 18 years of age. WeGame X currently only has around 17 games available, nearly half of which are indie games, and all of which are produced by Chinese game developers. The release of the client seems to be similar to a soft launch used in the release of many mobile games and apps, with a release to a very limited audience.
It is quite unusual for Tencent to do anything so secretly, with almost no advertising or publicizing going on. It is possible that the main reason for this is that the store doesn't really hold that much to offer yet, with such a small game library available. It seems like Tencent may just be using the international version of their store to test the waters of global digital distribution. It isn't expected that WeGame X will have any relationship or impact on the Epic Games Store, but it is possible given the companies ties that they may work something out.
Though Tencent's store seems to primarily be focusing on localizing several Chinese titles and bringing Chinese games overseas, so far, they also have mentions of partnerships with Deep Silver, Larian, and Hello Games. Of the Chinese games currently on WeGame X, My Time at Portia and Icey are the most well known internationally.
Tencent has been attempting to strengthen their foothold in the games industry recently, with the announcement of their own game streaming service, but they're still not trusted by gamers at large. Epic themselves where accused of collecting user data and sending it to the Chinese tech giant despite majority owner Tim Sweeney denying the claims, and investigations showing no sign of it. Other security concerns have arisen around data collection and the need for Tencent to abide by the laws of Hong Kong and the Peoples Republic of China which require access to sensitive information.
What do you think about WeGame X? Do you think that Tencent will try to compete or work with the Epic Store? Let us know in the comments down below.