Mark Rein discusses the Tencent deal and what it means for Epic Games.
The developer behind Gears of War, Infinity Blade and the widely used Unreal Engine, Epic Games, has a new corporate ally in China-based Tencent. As reported earlier today, Tencent made a "strategic investment" in Epic by acquiring a minority stake in the company.
Tencent, a maker of online multiplayer games and social networking services, may not seem like the most obvious partner for Epic Games. But VP Mark Rein tells Polygon that Tencent's business is "highly complementary to ours."
"They're strong in areas where we want to grow and we're strong in areas where they want to be," Rein told Polygon via e-mail. "Together we can be stronger still."
Tencent services the largest online community in China, according to the company, reaching hundreds of millions of registered users via its broad suite of web portals, micro-blogs, instant messaging services and casual games.
"Tencent's investment will empower Epic to help us do even more of what we do best, which is making great games and game technology," said Epic Games president Michael Capps at the original announcement. "Their expertise in the global online gaming market is second-to-none, and the opportunity to work with them to bring richer experiences to players all over the world is irresistible."
"Nothing changes here. Epic is still Epic."
The Tencent deal does not signal a change with Epic's current interests in Asia, Rein says, which include Yingpei Games, Epic Games Korea and Epic Games Japan. Nor does it necessarily signal a change in the developer's platform-agnostic drive to bring Unreal Engine to multiple console, PC and mobile platforms.
"We don't see ourselves as a casual game company but we would love to broaden our audience and create richer experiences for players everywhere on all platforms," Rein explained. "Tencent helps us reach a massive audience and provides a wealth of experience and knowledge from which we can draw. These guys are really smart and they'll make us smarter."
Rein pointed out that Epic Games' technology is already browser and social network-friendly, thanks to Unreal Engine for Adobe Flash and Facebook, Twitter and Game Center hooks built into Infinity Blade 2.
Tencent's deal with Epic is expected to close within the month.
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