Tencent wants to build an esports-themed park in China

Chinese conglomerate Tencent has been getting a lot of attention lately for what appears to be aggressive moves to boost its profile among gamers in, and outside of, its home country. But even by those standards, this new venture sounds big: As reported by Tuwan Esports, the company has announced plans to build an "esports themed industrial park" in the city of Wuhu.

The Google translation of the original announcement is predictably rough, but it jibes with TechNode's report that the "esports town" will include an "esports theme park, esports university, cultural and creative park, animation industrial park, creative block, tech entrepreneurial community, and Tencent cloud data center." It doesn't look like a start date for construction has been set, but the agreement said the project will rely on Wuhu's "cultural entertainment industry development base, and Tencent's powerful game industry" resources.   

An early thought when it came to light in April that Tencent was rebranding its digital gaming platform to "WeGame" was that the company was gearing up for an international showdown with Steam. But this report, if accurate, pretty clearly suggests a domestic focus, which would not be an unreasonable approach: Tencent's "online game segment revenue" was up 25 percent in 2016 to ¥70.84 billion ($10.28 billion), a figure that represents nearly half of its total 2016 revenue. In light of numbers like that, a focus on the home market—where there's obviously still a lot of room left for growth—seems like a smart idea. 

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.