Jess Colwill, April 19, 2017

Tencent, League of Legends Owner, Looks to Challenge Steam

Tencent, the massive Chinese company which owns a controlling share in League of Legends developer Riot Games, is about to launch ‘WeGame’, a games delivery and management system similar to Steam.

‘WeGame’ will be refresh and rebrand of ‘TGP’, the Tencent Games Platform. Under the new name, ‘WeGame’ will be available to a global audience rather than just being limited to China, where it already has more than 200 million active users.

The new ‘WeGame’ service now supports stand-alone titles and VR and AR games. Popular western games like Stardew Valley, Cities: Skylines and Don’t Starve are releasing on the platform, bypassing Steam and marketing directly to WeGame’s huge Chinese audience.

Although Tencent isn't planning to compete directly with Steam on a global scale just yet, it is clear that the refresh of the branding and the storefront may lead to a battle with the PC gaming giant in the future. In 2015, Steam had 125 million active users, already putting their customer base well behind WeGame.

Tencent not only controls League of Legends through its ownership of Riot Games but also controls Clash of Clans through developer SuperCell. They also hold significant stakes in Activision Blizzard, Epic Games, Glu Mobile, and other hugely successful developers. By some estimates, Tencent owns a full 13% of the global gaming market.

As competitive gaming grows, more tech giants are stepping up to include or expand online retail. Twitch, the world's largest streaming platform, announced integrated game sales just weeks before Tencent seems to be making steps toward the Western market. Valve may find their hold on the market seriously challenged for the first time in the year ahead.

The future of WeGame will be discussed at an upcoming press conference on April 20. Stay tuned to learn more about Tencent’s plans for the platform.

Jess Colwill

Jess is a writer and dog-lover from the eastern coast of Australia, who loves playing games (particularly anything by BioWare), listening to metal, baking, and fostering rescue dogs while they wait for new homes. You can find her on Twitter at @notsocryptic.