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China's Tencent just bought a piece of Paradox

Portfolio includes League of Legends, Activision Blizzard and Epic

paradox interactive
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Developer and publisher Paradox Interactive, makers of series such as Europa Universalis and Crusader Kings, announced that they plan to sell stock to Chinese publisher Tencent Holdings as part of their initial public offering on the Nasdaq First North Premier exchange.

Tencent will purchase a five percent share in Paradox, while chief executive officer Fredrik Wester will retain 33.3 percent. Swedish investment house Spiltan will retain 30 percent.

"Tencent approached us as big fans of our grand strategy games and with a genuine interest in Paradox and our onward journey," Wester said in a prepared statement. "It has always been very important for us that any partners we bring on board can contribute in a unique and attractive way to Paradox and have a long term commitment to the company. Tencent certainly fit the bill with their network and know-how of a market where we are not yet present and we believe Tencent will be able to add great value to Paradox in near and long term."

"As China’s game market further develops, players will advance to more sophisticated and complex genres such as grand strategy and simulation games," said Steven Ma, head of games publishing at Tencent, in that same press release. "I have spent many hours in Hearts of Iron 2, and believe our rich social resources can help Paradox build up loyal fan bases in China."

The announcement comes on the heels of what Paradox is calling its most successful game launch ever. Critics have given Stellaris solid reviews, including Polygon. James Mitchell, Tencent's chief strategy officer, cited the new title as evidence of Paradox's commitment to developing new intellectual property. Paradox also has a long history of supporting its titles years after release, and boasts some of the most dedicated fans in the industry.

Late last year Tencent purchased the remaining equity of Riot Games, the developer of League of Legends. They also have an investment in Activision Blizzard and Epic Games, and distributes Candy Crush Saga in China.