A rather odd shot from Code: Odyssey, the game being worked on by Umi Game, a studio in which ByteDance now has a stake

TikTok Owner ByteDance Acquires Big Share In Umi Game

June 4, 2021

By: Joseph Allen

 
 

TikTok owner ByteDance has purchased a 36% share in Chinese developer Umi Game. The studio is currently working with Epic Games and Spatial OS creator Improbable in order to create an open-world MMO named Code: Odyssey.

Why has ByteDance purchased this stake in Umi Game?

This news comes to us from gaming analyst Daniel Ahmad on Twitter. According to Ahmad, ByteDance purchased a 36.2% share in Umi Game as part of a wider strategy to move into the gaming sphere. Umi Game was founded in 2016 and is currently working on its inaugural project, an open-world MMO. This project will be created in conjunction with Unreal Engine proprietor Epic Games, as well as Improbable, creators of the multiplayer infrastructure engine Spatial OS.

 

A cityscape in Umi Game's upcoming Code: Odyssey, which now has partial funding from ByteDance
We don't have much more than concept art for Code: Odyssey right now, but ByteDance's involvement may accelerate development.

This isn't ByteDance's first foray into the gaming world. Earlier this year, the Chinese social media giant snapped up Mobile Legends developer Moonton. While we don't know the value of that deal, Mobile Legends has over 90 million monthly active users and has brought in nearly $1 billion in revenue for the company, so it's safe to assume the studio was worth a fair bit to ByteDance. Other investments on the TikTok startup's part include mobile developer C4 Games, as well as Reworld, which is China's first open game development platform and physics engine (think of it like a Chinese Roblox).

What does the future hold for ByteDance in the gaming space?

As Ahmad points out, ByteDance has expanded its internal gaming staff to almost 3,000 people, so it's clear the company is serious about its entry into the gaming space. It's notable that Chinese gaming giant Tencent has invested in Western companies like Riot Games, Epic, and even indie studios like Klei and Japanese firms such as Story of Seasons developer Marvelous. We could be about to see ByteDance pursue a similar strategy by looking into Western investments in the near future.

 
 
Story of Seasons, a game developed by Marvelous, a studio in which Chinese gaming giant Tencent has invested
With Tencent investing in studios around the world, ByteDance could be looking to do something similar.

However, this route is not likely to be smooth sailing for ByteDance if it chooses to do so. Last month, it was revealed that Tencent was speaking to a major US security group about its investments, with the group raising concerns surrounding national security and Tencent's supposed proximity to Beijing. If the TikTok giant makes similar inroads into the West, it's likely to come under similar scrutiny. We'll bring you more on this as soon as we get it.

What do you think of ByteDance's investment in Umi Game? Who do you think the social media giant is eyeing up next? Let us know in the comments below!