Tencent is set to become Funcom's largest shareholder

(Image credit: Funcom)

Norwegian publisher and developer Funcom, the outfit behind Conan Exiles, The Secret World and an upcoming series of games based on Dune has announced that Chinese gaming giant Tencent will soon own a 29% share in their company.

In their official press release, Funcom state that Tencent is acquiring the share of the company currently held by Norwegian firm KGJ Capital AS, and (as noted by Reuters) have done so at a premium), and while the ink hasn't yet dried on this deal, it is far along enough to be officially declared.

While a major power in the Chinese games industry, Tencent have been investing heavily in publishers and developers around the world. Last year they became the majority shareholder in Path Of Exile studio Grinding Gear Games. They also own a large share in Epic Games (although Epic is keen to stress this does not put Tencent in charge), and their investment in Ubisoft may have prevented a hostile takeover by Vivendi. They also own shares in Riot, Paradox and Frontier.

While this may mean a lot for the financial stability of companies like Funcom, it seems unlikely to have much effect on the company's short-term plans, which includes further expansion for survival sandbox Conan Exiles (including mounted combat later this year) and a series of Dune games, intended to be tied into next year's film remake, directed by Denis Villeneuve.

Dominic Tarason
Contributing Writer

The product of a wasted youth, wasted prime and getting into wasted middle age, Dominic Tarason is a freelance writer, occasional indie PR guy and professional techno-hermit seen in many strange corners of the internet and seldom in reality. Based deep in the Welsh hinterlands where no food delivery dares to go, videogames provide a gritty, realistic escape from the idyllic views and fresh country air. If you're looking for something new and potentially very weird to play, feel free to poke him on Twitter. He's almost sociable, most of the time.