Elden Ring wasn’t just a hit with fans of FromSoftware’s notoriously difficult action-RPGs. Today Tencent Holdings and Sony announced they’ve acquired 30% of the Souls-series developer’s shares, split in favor of Tencent. FromSoftware is expected to gain $260 million from the arrangement.
Today’s announcement from FromSoft’s parent company Kadokawa revealed that Sony and Tencent are acquiring 14.09% and 16.25% of FromSoft, respectively. The statement indicates that Kadokawa wants FromSoftware to be able to expand its development efforts; Kadokawa sees the “enhancement of capabilities for the creation, development and deployment of [FromSoft] game IP as one of the [Kadokawa] Group’s highest priorities.”
One of the aims is to give FromSoft the resources needed to grow Elden Ring into a franchise that extends beyond just video games.
Elden Ring was a long time coming, built on a foundation first laid down in FromSoftware’s pioneering 2009 PS3 game Demon’s Souls. A set of three spiritual sequels in the form of the Dark Souls trilogy, as well as two other similar titles (Bloodborne and Sekiro), certainly broadened the audience for these difficult and cryptic action-RPGs. But none have reached critical mass quite like Elden Ring, which outsold household names like Call of Duty and led to viral streaming sensations and hype that just won’t die.
Tencent, a Shanghai-based conglomerate, has continued its trend of investments and acquisitions. It owns 5% of Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry publisher Ubisoft, completed an acquisition of League of Legends’ developer Riot Games, owns 40% of Epic Games, and has stakes in many, many, many, many other game companies. As Polygon notes, it also owns 5% of Activision Blizzard, which will transfer over to Microsoft should that megacorp’s notable attempt to acquire the Call of Duty publisher clear regulatory screening.
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Sony has also been on a spending spree too, though it looks a bit more modest compared to Tencent. Perhaps most notably, Sony acquired the once Microsoft-affiliated Bungie for $3.6 billion in January. The house of PlayStation also made a move to acquire Bluepoint, the studio which made a name for itself with critically acclaimed remakes. Sony also invested a billion dollars in Epic Games back in April.
Anyway, maybe FromSoft can use the new money to add an easy mode so I can finally finish the damn things.