Riot Games Are Now Owned Outright By Tencent

Riot Games, makers of League of Legends [official site], are now owned outright by Tencent. The Chinese game publisher already owned the majority of the studio after acquisitions in 2008 and 2011, but they’ve now grabbed the remaining equity to take their ownership to 100%.

Because this is just the remaining 7.22% of the company changing hands, it’s unlikely to lead to changes to League of Legends or how Riot Games operates. The only changes are likely to impact Riot staff, as the company has announced changes to how they compensate employees.

Tencent reportedly bought 85% of Riot Games for $350 million in 2011. That seems like a steal, considering that 27 million people are meant to play it every day. It’s not been announced how much the remaining equity was sold for.

If Tencent isn’t a familiar name to you, you haven’t been paying attention. Aside from being an online media and advertising giant in China, they also own portions of Activision Blizzard and Epic Games.

Meanwhile, it doesn’t take a new acquisition to bring change. As Pip detailed last month, massive changes are already coming to League of Legends, including a new client, changes to how ranked matches and character selection work, and more.

20 Comments

  1. rustybroomhandle says:

    On the topic of Tencent – this is worth a watch: link to youtube.com

    So, so wrong.

    • Eight Rooks says:

      Oh, that thing. Yup, frightening. And I’m pretty sure there’s absolutely nothing anybody can do about it: China gets whatever it wants, more or less.

      • Mokinokaro says:

        Yep, Tencent is not a company I’d want to support.

      • CptPlanet says:

        America has been doing it for decades. Why? Because they are powerful enough.

        • gwathdring says:

          America doesn’t have a publicly accessible citizenship game that gives you points which directly affect your interactions with the government and can improve/hurt your ability to perform basic civic functions based on your patriotism gamerscore.

          So … what the HELL are you talking about? Do you mean domestic spying? Yes. People are angry about that, too, and America is hardly alone. The NSA doesn’t hold a candle to what happens in some countries–partially becasue it’s incompetent as heck. The head of the NSA constantly talks about “collecting haystacks” as a way of finding needles (like terrorists)–which anyone with a basic understanding of the mathematics of signal theory could tell you is provably stupid. The US collects tons of data, does barely any analysis of it, and can’t get it’s act together to collate and cross-communicate properly. That doesn’t mean human rights abuses don’t occur and shouldn’t be shouted about … but it does mean the US isn’t doing a damn thing remotely like this.

    • Reapy says:

      Wow, that is scary as fuck. I don’t even see a way around it. You can possibly have a second ‘real’ account, but that probably becomes problematic when you want to make purchases.

      It might just end up being a death sentence for social media on the other hand, maybe a retreat back to anonymous webpages and private VPNs to get information around, hell, maybe a rejection of the internet itself and a return to printed media.

      Seriously seems that bad.

    • Kollega says:

      Chinese Internet giants who got to where they are thanks to government’s protectionism are now developing a system that will allow the government to spy on and manipulate the citizens to the point where George Orwell’s revolving body could be used to power all of Britain with its rapid rotation. Honestly, I’m shocked and horrified, but not in any way surprised.

      The only hope I have is that people in countries with, y’know, actual functioning democracies will be more vigilant, and meet such blatantly, extremely Orwellian/Huxlean initiatives with a flurry of rotten tomatoes and mentions of Josef Stalin. And yes, I know full well that Internet surveillance has been encroaching on the world for a while now because people don’t care about their freedoms – but there are some people who do care, and in democratic countries they (which is to say, any of you who gives a damn) can have a say, and agitate against something that seems like a result of Aldous Huxley’s worst trip ever. Remember, people would generally not be happy to be classed as traitors, even if it’s disguised as a social network – so in democratic countries, it is our job to spread awareness, stand up against such things, and try to get others to do the same (which, ironically, often also happens through social networks).

      • ritsl says:

        Tencent is your friend. Not trusting Tencent is treason. Treason is punishable by death.

        Happiness is mandatory. Unhappiness is treason. Treason is punishable by death.

    • Kitsunin says:

      The one thing I have to say, is that I can’t easily corroborate the worst parts, which they are referring to in the video. The information I can find includes claims that the score will not use social media, and while your score is improved by having friends on the service, their scores don’t impact yours in any way, for instace. My Taiwanese friend has told me that all the local news she can find is treating the system as though it were just a credit score, but it certainly seems to be more than that, at the least.

    • frightlever says:

      Jesus.

      Was I really understand that video right, Tencent are basically helping the Chinese Government control the human rights of their citizens?

      RPS stopped covering PAX, because the Penny Arcade guys were being dicks, and yet the League of Legends coverage has only increased in recent months.

      • Mokinokaro says:

        That video is actually conflating things horribly.

        link to bbc.com

        Tencent’s Sesame Credit system is purely about credit card scores with the intent of fixing their really broken financial system. It’s tracking spending habits and encouraging folks to flaunt their good credit scores to encourage better spending habits.

        It’s Orwellian but nowhere near as evil as Extra Credits makes it sound. As usual, they failed in their research to create clickbait.

    • Hedgeclipper says:

      Its cute people think Western Governments aren’t doing the same sort of thing with all the data they’ve been collecting.

      • Premium User Badge

        artrexdenthur says:

        Well… They’re not.
        Nobody’s saying Western Governments don’t collect and use data on their citizens, but creepy and wrong as that is, they aren’t (currently) using that data to indirectly cause their citizens to pressure each other into certain behaviors.
        Sure, governments use more or less illicit data to profile citizens and to direct their own actions for/against citizens, but the new thing here is manipulating citizens into manipulating each other using skinner-box-y positive reinforcement.

  2. silentdan says:

    For those who can’t access the video, here’s a brief summary: China has developed a scoring system for how obedient you are. Re-tweet government propaganda, get points. “Like” a Facebook post about Tiananmen Square, lose points. Also, having friends with a low score will lower your score, and you’ll know which of your friends is dragging you down, incentivizing you to disassociate from them. High scores earn you perks, and low scores currently have no penalties, but I think we can all see which population pool will keep tomorrow’s forced labour camps full.

    If anyone ever tells you “that couldn’t happen here,” slap them, and use the moments of stunned silence to remind them that everyone, everywhere always says that about their own people and place. Don’t give in to the temptation to think of other people as The Other, and dismiss what happens Over There as the predictable consequences of Their Backwards Ways. This isn’t a Chinese problem, this is a human problem. The individuals who believe themselves most immune to propaganda, are in fact the ones most vulnerable to it.

    • Mokinokaro says:

      Except the video is actually rather incorrect and actually conflating two systems together.

      Sesame Credit has nothing to do with social media. It’s purely looking at credit scores and spending habits. It also encourages users with good credit scores to flaunt theirs as an example to others. It’s just one of several proposed systems to try and fix China’s horribly broken financial sector.

      However, there IS a new Orwellian system tracking Renpen (China’s facebook) and other social networks, but Tencent has nothing to do with it.

    • MiniMatt says:

      If anyone ever tells you “that couldn’t happen here,” slap them, and use the moments of stunned silence to remind them that everyone, everywhere always says that about their own people and place.

      If you grant a government the powers of a police state, it is only a matter of time before it becomes a police state.

      Those in the UK, thinking “it’ll never happen here, we’ll only use those powers to catch the paedo-terrorists”, need only look across the pond and think “What would Donald do with these powers?

      With apologies to our US audience, I think it’s safe to say most of the rest of the world for a long time viewed Donald as an amusing joke. Now we’re beginning to get a little scared by him. And we look to the rising popularity of the demagogues in our own back yards who spout simplistic, populist, blame-the-others, borderline hate speech, and well it all gets a little Godwinny.

      • silentdan says:

        Godwin himself said that his eponymous Law was meant to discourage thoughtless exaggeration, not shut down intelligent discussions about the very real dangers of fascist ideologies. The Holocaust shouldn’t be a lazy person’s go-to hyperbole, but when someone echoes Hitler with “Muslim” in place of “Jew”, no party to the discussion loses credibility by referring to the lessons that so many died to teach us.

        • Fnord73 says:

          Godwins was actually about “Hitlering” the debate, not actually talking about Hitler. Its when I say “You sound like Hitler” or “Saddam Hussein is like Hitler” (substitute Saddam with another name at will). Got formulated on the alt.list.

  3. Fnord73 says:

    Reading this, I need to ask the RPS community: Where do I apply for working as gametester for such operations? Is there any firm hiring in us old gamers ?